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To evaluate whether a multipronged pilot intervention promoting healthier beverage consumption improved at-home beverage consumption and weight status among young children.
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.
Two northern California cities, USA, 2013–2014.
Children aged 2–5 years and their parents.
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).
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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