21 October 2016
Child overweight and obese
Recruitment site location(s) (State)
New South Wales
Active, not recruiting
Anticipated date of first participant enrolment
16 January 2017
Ethics application status
Childhood obesity is a serious public health challenge. About one in five Australian children aged 2 to 3 years is now either overweight or obese. Early intervention is important as excess weight and fast weight gain in early childhood are related to being overweight later in life with considerable impact upon health and health services.
Over the past 7 years we have developed, implemented and evaluated an early obesity intervention program funded by NHMRC. The project tilted Healthy Beginnings Trial (HBT) was designed to improve infant feeding practices, eating habits, active play, and reduce TV viewing time to prevent childhood obesity in the first two years of life through staged home visiting. However, the high cost associated with home visits potentially limits population reach. To translate the successful evidence from the HBT into scaled-up practice applicable across the state with low-cost and broad-reach approaches, we propose this study to promote healthy infant feeding and active play using telephone support and Short Message Service (SMS).
The proposed study aims to test the effectiveness of telephone support or SMS with mail-outs in reducing child BMI z-score, promoting healthy infant feeding practice and active play in the first 24 months of life; and examine the cost-effectiveness of these interventions.
We hypothesise that the staged early intervention using either mailed self-motivating written materials plus SMS or plus telephone support delivered in the antenatal period and over the first 24 months of life, relative to usual care, will:
1) lead to reduced child BMI z-score and rapid weight gain at age 12 and 24 months compared to usual care.
2) improve infant feeding practices and decrease the prevalence of obesity-related behaviours at 12 and 24 months compared to usual care.
3) be more cost-effective compared to usual care, and SMS will be more cost-effective than telephone support.
Both qualitative and quantitative methods will be used in this study. A total of 1155 women at late pregnancy were recruited from main hospitals in four Local Health Districts. They were randomly allocated to one of three arms. Randomisation was stratified by Local Health District. Telephone surveys were used to collect data at baseline, 6 months, 12 months, and will be used at 24 months. Children’s weight and length at 24 months will be measured by research nurses.