Childhood obesity prevention programs for young children: A meta-analysis
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The proposed study is a meta-analysis examining the effectiveness of childhood obesity prevention programs in young (newborn to preschool-aged) children. Treatments for childhood obesity have shown small improvements in childhood weight outcomes and are associated with high rates of attrition and high medical expenditures. Thus, childhood obesity prevention has been identified as a major public health focus. Article searches will be conducted using seven electronic databases from the beginning of time until present. Inclusion criteria for this meta- analysis include but are not limited to: participants are newborn to preschool-aged; participants are not recruited specifically for being overweight or obese; studies must include a control or comparison group. This meta-analysis will examine how program characteristics (i.e., parental component, program setting, and theoretical orientation) impact the effectiveness of childhood obesity prevention programs. Overall effect sizes for the analyzed outcomes of body mass index z-score (g = 0.00740), sugar- sweetened beverages (g = 0.00033), and screen time (g = 0.07170) were very small. Effect sizes did not indicate any significant differences for the analyzed outcomes by the study characteristics. Although the hypotheses of this meta-analysis were not supported, it appears that obesity prevention programs for young children may lead to maintenance of a healthy BMI z-score. Future studies should examine other important variables that may capture childhood obesity prevention effectiveness such as youth laboratory data, sleep duration, and psychosocial variables.