Explore the latest research in child nutrition, physical activity, and healthy weight management for children in the links below, with brief summaries written by NJHKI staff.Interventions for increasing fruit and vegetable consumption in children aged five years and under
This article reviewed data from 15,645 two to 19 year old participants in the 2003–2014 National Health and Nutrition Examination surveys. The major findings were that there were significant declines in SNAP income-eligible participant sugar-sweetened beverage consumption (84.2% to 75.6%). Similar decreases were also found in the categories of lower income–ineligible nonparticipants and higher income–ineligible nonparticipants. Current levels of consumption, however, continue to be high.
This Cochrane review examined the effectiveness, cost effectiveness and associated adverse events of interventions designed to increase the consumption of fruit, vegetables or both among children aged five years and under. The authors concluded that the evidence for how best to increase fruit and vegetable consumption in preschool children is limited. The best evidence (moderate-quality) was found in multicomponent interventions though effect sizes were small ( 4.45 g and 0.36 cups of fruit and vegetables consumed per day respectively). The authors suggest that future research should test interventions that are based on logic models of change, appropriate theoretical frameworks and evidence, use high‐quality evaluation methods.
Systematic review of interventions in the childcare setting with direct parental involvement: effectiveness on child weight status and energy balance-related behaviours
This review examined the effectiveness of childcare-based interventions that included parental involvement on weight status and energy balance-related behaviors in 2-5 year olds. A total of 22 studies with 17 interventions were included. Parent involvement in the interventions made a significant difference in the physical activity (specifically motor skill development) and nutrition behaviors of the children, though impact on weight was not significant. In such studies, it is important to consider that there may be a selection bias for those parents who are more likely to be willing to participate in these interventions (e.g., higher SES and 2 parent families)
The UConn Rudd Center for Food Policy & obesity released its Children’s Drink FACTS 2019: Sales, Nutrition, and Marketing of Children’s Drinks in October 2019. The report assesses the sales, nutrition, and marketing of children’s drinks, defined as drinks that companies market as intended for children to consume (in marketing to parents and/or directly to children.
This toolkit will help SNAP-Ed Implementing Agencies across the country find evidence-based interventions and explore the SNAP-Ed Evaluation Framework in order help SNAP-eligible households make healthy eating and physical activity choices on a limited budget.
The State of the World’s Children report from UNICEF touches on malnutrition, overweight, and obesity. It concludes with an Agenda to Put Children’s Nutrition Rights First:
- Empower families, children and young people to demand nutritious food.
- Drive food suppliers to do the right thing for children.
- Build healthy food environments for all children.
- Mobilize supportive systems – health, water and sanitation, education and social protection – to scale up nutrition results for all children.
- Collect, analyse and use good-quality data and evidence regularly to guide action and track progress
New Report from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), “The Heavy Burden of Obesity: The Economics of Prevention”
Excellent report from OECD on the global impact of obesity on individuals, society, and the economy. Key take homes from the report: higher rates of overweight and obesity fuel social inequality; overweight damages population health, healthcare budgets and the economy; and tackling overweight is an excellent investment for OECD, EU28, and G20 countries.
Obesity declined among children from low-income families enrolled in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) from 15.9% in 2010 to 13.9% in 2016. The decline was statistically significant among all racial/ethnic groups and in 34 of 56 state WIC agencies.
Australia is facing an obesity epidemic similar to that in the United States. They recognize they don’t have an overarching strategy to tackle obesity. This committee report presents a whole-of-government approach at the federal level is required to develop, resource and deliver a comprehensive National Obesity Strategy and recommends the establishment of a National Obesity Taskforce. It also recommends approaches that would include food labeling, food reformulation, tax on sugary drinks, review of the advertising of discretionary foods, education campaigns, healthcare interventions, and community-based multi-strategy interventions
A Lancet Commission focused on global obesity suggests a reframing to a Global Syndemic (a synergy of epidemics). The three pandemics-obesity, undernutrition, and climate change-¬occur in time and place, interact with each other to produce complex sequelae, and share common underlying societal drivers. The Commission recommends comprehensive actions to address obesity within the context of The Global Syndemic.
The Access to Nutrition Index: US Spotlight Index 2018 was recently published and is the first national assessment of the contribution of America’s ten largest food and beverage manufacturers to addressing nutrition challenges. The aim of the Index is to improve nutrition in the food and beverage sector. It provides comprehensive, independent, comparable and objective information about companies’ products, policies, practices and disclosure. The Index recommends that, though the ten largest food and beverage manufacturers in the United States have made some efforts to tackle obesity and diet-related disease in the market, they must make their product portfolios healthier and ensure their healthy products are accessible to all, particularly to those whose access to healthy food is constrained by low income or geographic factors.
The second edition of the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans were released in November. In addition, the HHS Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion created the Move Your Way campaign to help health professionals, national organizations, communities, and other stakeholders in physical activity communicate with consumers about the recommendations from the Guidelines. The guidelines are focused on people ages 3 years and older and written for an audience of policymakers and health professionals. The recommendation for preschool-aged children (ages 3 through 5 years) is that they should be physically active throughout the day to enhance growth and development. The recommendation for children ages 6 to 17 years of age is 60 minutes or more of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity daily.
Resources for increasing classroom physical activity in schools
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Division of Population Health released in November 2018 a group of resources to help all students meet the national recommendation for physical activity. Strategies for Classroom Physical Activity in Schools recommends 10 strategies, organized under three categories, that schools can use to improve classroom physical activity. A companion document, Integrate Classroom Physical Activity in Schools: A Guide for Putting Strategies into Practice can help teachers, school staff, school partners, and other physical activity champions assess current classroom physical activity practices; identify opportunities to enhance or sustain classroom physical activity strategies that are already in place; and take practical steps to integrate physical activity into the classroom.
An examination of the most recent data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey shows a sharp increase in obesity in 2-5 year olds (9.3% to 13.7%) and in 16-19 yr old females (36% to 48%). Racial and ethnic inequities still exist with Non-Hispanic African American and Hispanic children having higher prevalence rates of overweight and all classes of obesity compared with other races.
This review of the literature from Healthy Eating Research focuses on the impact of policy, systems, and environmental changes on promoting a healthy diet, increasing physical activity, and reducing screen time in young children in the ECE setting.
The latest version of the Feeding Infants and Toddlers Study gives lots of interesting information on the nutrients children are getting in their diets, including that when children are starting to eat mostly table foods it’s difficult to obtain the recommended vitamin D intakes without the use of supplements.
Great resource from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that brings together existing information and practical strategies on feeding healthy foods and drinks to infants and toddlers, from birth to 24 months of age.