Factors in the Home that Reduce Childhood Obesity

JAMA Pediatrics published research on in home interventions to reduce childhood obesity.  The children in the intervention group participated in a program called “Healthy Home Healthy Habits”.  The parents were not told that it was to reduce the risk of the children becoming overweight. 

The interventions consisted of encouraging:

  • regular family meals together
  • adequate sleep for children
  • limiting the time children spend watching television
  • removing television from rooms where children sleep
  • parenting practices such as role modeling and limit setting. 

At the end of 6 months, the results showed that the children in the intervention group were:

  • sleeping 45 minutes more per night
  • television watching dropped about an hour per day on the weekends (non intervention group increased tv viewing on the weekend)
  • no change in family meals together
  • overall, the body mass index of children in the intervention group dropped an average of 0.18, while it rose 0.21 in the control group. 

Reference: Haines J, McDonald J, O’Brien A, et al. Healthy Habits, Happy Homes: Randomized Trial to Improve Household Routines for Obesity Prevention Among Preschool-Aged Children. JAMA Pediatr. 2013;():-. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2013.2356.