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Effects of a multipronged beverage intervention on young children’s beverage intake and weight: a cluster-randomized pilot study

  • Anna H Grummon (a1) (a2), Michael D Cabana (a3) (a4) (a5), Amelie A Hecht (a6), Abbey Alkon (a7), Charles E McCulloch (a5), Claire D Brindis (a3) (a4) (a8) and Anisha I Patel (a9)...

Abstract

Objective:

To evaluate whether a multipronged pilot intervention promoting healthier beverage consumption improved at-home beverage consumption and weight status among young children.

Design:

In this exploratory pilot study, we randomly assigned four childcare centres to a control (delayed-intervention) condition or a 12-week intervention that promoted consumption of healthier beverages (water, unsweetened low- or non-fat milk) and discouraged consumption of less-healthy beverages (juice, sugar-sweetened beverages, high-fat or sweetened milk). The multipronged intervention was delivered via childcare centres; simultaneously targeted children, parents and childcare staff; and included environmental changes, policies and education. Outcomes were measured at baseline and immediately post-intervention and included children’s (n 154) at-home beverage consumption (assessed via parental report) and overweight/obese status (assessed via objectively measured height and weight). We estimated intervention impact using difference-in-differences models controlling for children’s demographics and classroom.

Setting:

Two northern California cities, USA, 2013–2014.

Participants:

Children aged 2–5 years and their parents.

Results:

Relative to control group children, intervention group children reduced their consumption of less-healthy beverages from baseline to follow-up by 5·9 ounces/d (95 % CI −11·2, −0·6) (–174·5 ml/d; 95 % CI –331·2, –17·7) and increased their consumption of healthier beverages by 3·5 ounces/d (95 % CI −2·6, 9·5) (103·5 ml/d; 95 % CI –76·9, 280·9). Children’s likelihood of being overweight decreased by 3 percentage points (pp) in the intervention group and increased by 3 pp in the control group (difference-in-differences: −6 pp; 95 % CI −15, 3).

Conclusions:

Our exploratory pilot study suggests that interventions focused comprehensively on encouraging healthier beverage consumption could improve children’s beverage intake and weight. Findings should be confirmed in longer, larger studies.

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Copyright

Corresponding author

*Corresponding author: Email anipatel@stanford.edu

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