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Evaluation of a feasibility study addressing risk factors for childhood obesity through home visits


Dr Li Ming Wen, Health Promotion Service, Sydney South West Area Health Service, Level 9, King George V Building, Missenden Road, Camperdown, NSW 2050, Australia. Fax: +61 2 9515 9056; email:


Aim:  This pilot study aimed to explore the feasibility of addressing risk factors for childhood obesity through a home-based early intervention program.

Method:  A pilot study was conducted with 56 first-time mothers, recruited through the antenatal and delivery units of an inner western Sydney hospital. The study offered five home visits by a community early childhood health nurse during the child's first year of life. At each visit, the intervention was tailored to the appropriate developmental stage of the child. One-to-one consultation was provided with a focus on sustained breastfeeding, appropriate introduction of solids, avoiding food rewards and promoting the drinking of water and the use of a cup. Both quantitative and qualitative methods were applied to assess the feasibility and acceptability of the program.

Results:  The results indicate that the program was very well received by the participating mothers, with a retention rate of 95%. Compared with the state population average, the rate of breastfeeding at 12 months was significantly higher (36% vs. 18%, χ2= 8.21, P < 0.01), there was a lower rate of the introduction of solids before 4 months (2% vs. 13%, χ2= 8.73, P < 0.01), and there was a high rate of cup usage at 12 months (98%).

Conclusions:  The early onset of childhood overweight and obesity requires health promotion intervention programs to commence as early as possible. A home-based intervention through multiple home visits is feasible in addressing the risk factors for childhood obesity.