Strategies for obesity prevention in child care settings: A literature review

Sameena H Eksambi, The University of Texas School of Public Health


Background. Children in the age group of 2-5 years spend substantial amount of time during the day in some kind of childcare setting. These settings are an excellent environmental infrastructure to enhance their nutrition and physical activity behavior and to promote healthy eating and physical activity habits. Due to the steep rise in overweight and obesity among children in the past three decades, it becomes essential to intervene early. There exists a need for literature on a comprehensive and sustainable approach to obesity prevention for younger children in these settings. Methods. Systematic literature search was undertaken using databases like Medline Ovid, Pubmed, Medline Ebsco, and Cochrane Library. Articles published in English as well as English language abstracts of foreign articles were included. The inclusion criteria were as follows: (1) Studies conducted in any part of the world exploring relevant themes and a child care or preschool setting would be included. (2) The interventions promoted physical activity, nutrition/healthy eating/improved diet, reduced television viewing, reduced BMI, changed knowledge and behavior of children and or staff or affected policy/standards/regulations. (3) The population was children in the age group of at least 2 years to 5 years. (4) Articles published in English and English language abstracts for foreign articles would be included. Results. 16 articles were included in the review that consisted of primary interventions in the form of randomized control trials or pre-post interventions were conducted in a preschool or child care or day care setting only. The outcomes pertaining to healthy weight in children were increased vegetable intake, reduced BMI and increased knowledge among others. Conclusion. There is a dearth of data on strong intervention trials in the child care setting. Preschool research studies in the young children that have been conducted are not strong enough. There is a need for more randomized control trials and a well planned evaluation in the preschool age children. There is a need to develop outcome measures that can accurately assess the changes in diet and physical activity in this age group. Child care nutrition and physical activity standards need to be made stringent.

Subject Area

Early childhood education|Public health

Recommended Citation

Eksambi, Sameena H, "Strategies for obesity prevention in child care settings: A literature review" (2010). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI1474797.