IMPORTANCE: Little evidence exists on whether effects of an early obesity intervention are sustainable. OBJECTIVE: To assess the sustainability of effects of a home-based early intervention on children's body mass index (BMI) and BMI z score at 3 years after intervention. DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS: A longitudinal follow-up study of the randomized clinical Healthy Beginnings Trial was conducted with 465 participating mothers consenting to be followed up at 3 years after intervention until their children were age 5 years. This study was conducted in socially and economically disadvantaged areas of Sydney, Australia, from March 2011 to June 2014. INTERVENTIONS: No further intervention was carried out in this Healthy Beginnings Trial phase 2 follow-up study. The original intervention in phase 1 comprised 8 home visits from community nurses delivering a staged home-based intervention, with one visit in the antenatal period and 7 visits at 1, 3, 5, 9, 12, 18, and 24 months after birth. MAIN OUTCOMES AND MEASURES: Primary outcomes were children's BMI and BMI z score. Secondary outcomes included dietary behaviors, quality of life, physical activity, and TV viewing time of children and their mothers. RESULTS: In total, 369 mothers and their children completed the follow-up study, a phase 2 completion rate of 79.4% (80.9% for the intervention group and 77.7% for the control group). The differences between the intervention and control groups at age 2 years in children's BMI and BMI z score disappeared over time. At age 2 years, the difference (intervention minus control) in BMI (calculated as weight in kilograms divided by height in meters squared) was -0.41 (95% CI, -0.71 to -0.10; P = .009), but by age 5 years it was 0.03 (95% CI, -0.30 to 0.37). No effects of the early intervention on dietary behaviors, quality of life, physical activity, and TV viewing time were detected at age 5 years. CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE: The significant effect of this early life home-visiting intervention on child BMI and BMI z score at age 2 years was not sustained at age 5 years without further intervention. Obesity prevention programs need to be continued or maintained during the early childhood years.
- Infant feeding practice
- childhood obesity