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Int J Obes (Lond). 2009 Oct;33(10):1075-83. doi: 10.1038/ijo.2009.166. Epub 2009 Sep 8.

Prevention of overweight in preschool children: results of kindergarten-based interventions.

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Department of Pediatrics, Children's Hospital, CHU-Toulouse, Toulouse, France.



Given the increasing prevalence of pediatric obesity, we evaluated two kindergarten-based strategies for reducing overweight in preschool children in the Haute-Garonne Department in France.


Kindergartens (n=79) were randomly assigned to one of the two strategies and followed for 2 years. In the first group (Epidémiologie et prévention de l'obésité infantile, EPIPOI-1), parents and teachers received basic information on overweight and health, and children underwent screening to identify those with overweight (body mass index (BMI) > or = 90th percentile) or at risk for overweight (BMI between 75 and 90th percentile), who were then followed up by their physicians. EPIPOI-2 children, in addition, received kindergarten-based education to promote healthy practices related to nutrition, physical activity and sedentary behaviors. Data on control children from non-intervention kindergartens (n=40) were retrieved from medical records at the Division of School Health.


At baseline, groups differed significantly on age and school area (underprivileged/not). Owing to a significant interaction between school area and group, analyses were stratified by school area. At baseline, groups did not differ on overweight prevalence and BMI z-scores for any school area. After intervention, prevalence of overweight, BMI z-score and change in BMI z-score were significantly lower in intervention groups compared with controls in underprivileged areas. Using multilevel analysis adjusted for potential confounders, a significant effect on overweight prevalence at the end of the study was noted for EPIPOI-1 in underprivileged areas only (odds ratio and 95% confidence interval: 0.18 (0.07-0.51). In non-underprivileged areas, the gain in BMI z-score was lower in EPIPOI-2 group compared with control and EPIPOI-1.


Our results suggest that simple measures involving increasing awareness on overweight and health, and periodic monitoring of weight and height with follow-up care when indicated, could be useful to reduce overweight in young children from underprivileged areas. A reinforced strategy with an education component, in addition, may be indicated in children in non-underprivileged areas.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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