Today, one out of five American children is obese. Young children who are overweight are five times more likely than their peers of normal weight to be obese by adolescence. Obese children and adolescents, especially low-income and minority youth, are at increased risk for a range of medical, social and academic problems.
The new study led by Laurie Miller Brotman, PhD, professor of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Director of the Center for Early Childhood Health and Development at the NYU Child Study Center investigated whether early family intervention that was effective for parents of children with behavior problems, resulted in lower rates of obesity. This innovative study took advantage of two long-term follow up studies of high-risk children who had participated in evaluations of either ParentCorps or another effective parenting intervention, the "Incredible Years," during early childhood. The study involved 186 children from low-income, minority families at high risk for obesity who were randomly assigned to family intervention or a control group when the children were approximately four years old. Behavioral family intervention in early childhood included a series of weekly 2-hour parent and child groups over a 6-month period. The interventions did not address nutrition, activity, or weight.
"Children who enter school with behavior problems are at very high risk for academic underachievement and school dropout, antisocial behavior, delinquency, obesity and other health problems. ParentCorps engages parents of high-risk children, reduces harsh and ineffective parenting and prevents early behavior problems from escalating into more serious and intractable problems," said Dr. Brotman.
For more than a decade, Dr. Brotman and her colleagues have developed and evaluated programs for parents and young children living in urban poverty. ParentCorps, a culturally-informed family program for young children, helps parents to be more responsive and nurturing as well as more effective in their approach to discipline. ParentCorps graduates are more attentive and attuned to their children, spend more time playing and reading with their children and praise positive behaviors such as sharing with peers. After participating in ParentCorps groups, parents replace physical punishment with more effective strategies such as time out. ParentCorps has benefits for ethnically and socioeconomically diverse families, and is especially helpful for parents of children with behavior problems.
In both follow-up studies, children who were assigned to the intervention and children in the control condition were evaluated from three to five years later. The evaluation of children as they approached adolescence included examination of body mass index, sedentary activity and physical activity. In one of the studies, blood pressure and nutritional intake were also measured.
Children who received family intervention during early childhood had significantly lower rates of obesity compared to children in the control group. In the larger study, without intervention, more than half of the children with early behavior problems were obese by second grade. In contrast, among children with behavior problems who received ParentCorps in early childhood, only 24% were obese. Similarly positive effects were found across the two studies on sedentary behavior and physical activity. The one study that examined blood pressure and diet showed lower rates of blood pressure and relatively lower consumption of carbohydrates in adolescents who received early childhood intervention.
ParentCorps and other programs that promote effective parenting and prevent behavior problems at a young age may contribute to a reduction of obesity among low-income, minority youth.
Dr. Brotman's co-authors include Spring Dawson-McClure, PhD, Keng-Yen Huang, PhD, Rachelle Theise, PsyD, Dimitra Kamboukos, PhD, Jing Wang, MA, Eva Petkova, PhD, of the Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Gbenga Ogedegbe, MD, of the Department of Medicine, Division of General Internal Medicine, NYU School of Medicine.
This study of health outcomes was supported by the J. Ira and Nicki Harris Family Foundation. The original randomized controlled trials were supported by grants from the National Institute of Mental Health and the Institute for Education Sciences to Dr. Brotman.
About NYU School of Medicine
NYU School of Medicine is one of the nation's preeminent academic institutions dedicated to achieving world class medical educational excellence. For 170 years, NYU School of Medicine has trained thousands of physicians and scientists who have helped to shape the course of medical history and enrich the lives of countless people. An integral part of NYU Langone Medical Center, the School of Medicine at its core is committed to improving the human condition through medical education, scientific research and direct patient care. The School also maintains academic affiliations with area hospitals, including Bellevue Hospital, one of the nation's finest municipal hospitals where its students, residents and faculty provide the clinical and emergency care to New York City's diverse population, which enhances the scope and quality of their medical education and training. Additional information about the NYU School of Medicine is available at http://school.med.nyu.edu/.
Lorinda Klein | EurekAlert!
Laser activated gold pyramids could deliver drugs, DNA into cells without harm
24.03.2017 | Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences
What does congenital Zika syndrome look like?
24.03.2017 | University of California - San Diego
Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.
The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.
Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...
Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.
Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...
In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...
20.03.2017 | Event News
14.03.2017 | Event News
07.03.2017 | Event News
24.03.2017 | Materials Sciences
24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy