Intended for healthcare professionals


Prevention of obesity through home visiting up to the age of 2 years

BMJ 2012; 344 doi: (Published 26 June 2012) Cite this as: BMJ 2012;344:e3931
  1. Mary Rudolf, professor of child health12
  1. 1Bar Ilan Faculty of Medicine in the Galilee, Israel
  2. 2University of Leeds and Leeds Community Healthcare Trust, UK
  1. mary.rudolf{at}

A promising but costly approach

In the United Kingdom, a quarter of children are already overweight by the time they start school at the age of 5 years.1 Primary prevention therefore needs to start well before school age, particularly because heavy babies and rapid weight gain at this time are associated with the development of obesity later in life.2 Yet most research efforts are still focused on school aged children.3 In the linked study (doi:10.1136/bmj.e3732), however, Wen and colleagues have carried out a trial of an intervention programme aimed at infants.4

The study is important for two reasons: firstly, because the authors show that it is possible to engage young mothers, at least in Australia, in an obesity prevention programme during pregnancy; and, secondly, for the results they have achieved. They report that babies who participated in the intervention had lower body mass index (BMI) measures at the age of 2 years than those in the control group. They also found measurable differences in vegetable consumption, using food for reward, TV viewing, and mothers’ lifestyles.

The literature suggests that the …

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