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J Pediatr. 2015 Aug;167(2):372-7.e1. doi: 10.1016/j.jpeds.2015.05.028. Epub 2015 Jun 12.

Outcomes from a Pediatric Primary Care Weight Management Program: Steps to Growing Up Healthy.

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Department of Pediatrics, University of Connecticut Health Center, Farmington, CT; Children's Center for Community Research, Connecticut Children's Medical Center, Hartford, CT.
Children's Center for Community Research, Connecticut Children's Medical Center, Hartford, CT.
Department of Allied Health Sciences, University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT.
Department of Psychology, University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT.



To examine the efficacy of Steps to Growing Up Healthy, an obesity prevention intervention in preschool-age, urban-dwelling minority children.


Thirty-two pediatric primary care clinicians used a brief (3- to 5-minute) evidence-based behavior change intervention with low-income mothers of children aged 2-4 years during each regularly scheduled clinic visit over a 12-month period to target 4 specific obesogenic behaviors (milk consumption, juice and sugar-sweetened beverage consumption, television/screen time, and physical activity). A written contract, self-monitoring calendar, and telephone follow-up at 5-7 days after the clinic visit reinforced the intervention. Body mass index (BMI) percentile over 12 months and obesogenic behaviors were compared with those of a sex- and age-matched historical control group drawn from the same clinic.


Between January 2009 and November 2012, 418 mother-child dyads (82% Hispanic and 18% African American; mean child age, 35.8 ± 8.6 months; 21% overweight and 21% obese children) participated (218 in the control group and 200 in the intervention group). At 12 months, BMI percentile decreased by 0.33 percentile in the intervention group, compared with a mean increase of 8.75 percentile in the control group (P < .001). In participants with an initial BMI <85th percentile, BMI percentile did not change over time in the intervention group but increased in the control group (from the 48th ± 21 to 63th ± 29 percentile; P < .01). At 12 months, consumption of juice and milk were decreased in the intervention group (P < .001).


A brief, evidence-based intervention targeting 4 behaviors, coupled with a written contract and telephone follow-up, decreased the rate of increase in BMI percentile in young children, especially in normal weight children.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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