(HealthDay News) – A home-based intervention comprising eight visits from trained nurses to new mothers in the pre- and postnatal period is associated with lower body mass index (BMI) in children at age 2.

Li Ming Wen, MD, from the University of Sydney in Australia, and colleagues conducted a randomized controlled trial to assess the effectiveness of a home-based early intervention on children’s BMI at 2 years of age. The study included 667 first-time mothers and their infants. Mothers in the intervention group – from socially and economically disadvantaged areas of Sydney – received eight home visits from trained community nurses, one before birth and seven in the 24 months after birth, to coincide with developmental milestones.

Based on intention-to-treat analysis and multiple imputation of BMI for the 170 participants lost to follow-up and 14 missing participants, the researchers found that the mean BMI was significantly lower in the intervention than the control group, with a difference of 0.29kg/m² (16.53 vs. 16.82kg/m²; P=0.04).

“In conclusion, the early onset of childhood overweight and obesity would require health promotion intervention programs to start as early as possible and to be family focused,” the authors write. “A home-based, staged intervention of multiple home visits to deal with the risk factors for childhood obesity was effective in improving [children’s] weight status and risk factors.”

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