Assisting parents to prevent obesity in their young children: the COMPaRE-PHC early childhood research program (#199)
On a population-wide basis, strategies aimed at prevention of overweight are likely to be more effective in the long term. In terms of prevention of excess weight gain, there is an increasing body of evidence that particular life stages may provide important intervention points, including early life and young adulthood. Young children and their familes are frequent users of Primary health Care services-both through their local General Practice and their Maternal and Child Health Centre, with six visits the norm in the first year of life.
As part of the COMPaRE-PHC Centre of Research Excellence program of work, and building on our previous research, the Primary-HELP intervention will be delivered by Practice Nurses and Maternal and Child Health Nurses to parents of babies aged 4-6 months. The intervention uses an anticipatory guidance framework and the 5As model to provide healthy eating and activity strategies that can be adopted by the whole family. A novel, m-health intervention will incorporate text messages at regular intervals and a free, interactive website for follow-up information. Nurses follow-up parents with a phone call and then see the family again when the baby is 10-12 months of age, and again when the baby is 16-18 months old.
Nurses working in maternal and child health and in general practice gain additional training and increased capacity to offer preventive care. The intervention may assist mothers to return to pre-partum weight making subsequent pregnancies safer while reducing the likelhood of excess weight gain in their young children. Parents are supported by nurses and a novel m-health intervention to reduce the likelhood of excess weight gain in their young children.