Improving toddlers' healthy eating habits and self-regulation: A randomized controlled trial

Robert L. Nix, Lori A. Francis, Mark E. Feinberg, Sukhdeep Gill, Damon E. Jones, Michelle L. Hostetler, Cynthia A. Stifter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

OBJECTIVES: In this study, we tested whether Recipe 4 Success, a preventive intervention featuring structured food preparation lessons, was successful in improving the following 4 protective factors related to overweight and obesity among families living in poverty: toddlers' healthy eating habits, toddlers' self-regulation, parents' responsive feeding practices, and parents' sensitive scaffolding. METHODS: This randomized controlled trial was open to families enrolled in Early Head Start home visits and included 73 parents and their toddlers aged 18 to 36 months. Multimethod assessments were conducted at baseline and posttreatment. RESULTS: Compared with toddlers in usual practice Early Head Start, toddlers in Recipe 4 Success consumed healthier meals and snacks (d = 0.57; P,.03; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.08-1.06) and displayed better self-regulation (d = 0.95; P,.001; 95% CI: 0.43-1.45). Compared with parents in usual practice Early Head Start, parents in Recipe 4 Success engaged in more responsive feeding practices (d = 0.87; P,.002; 95% CI: 0.34-1.40) and were better able to sensitively scaffold their toddlers' learning and development (d = 0.58; P,.04; 95% CI: 0.07-1.09). CONCLUSIONS: This randomized controlled trial revealed medium to large intervention effects on 4 important protective factors that are related to overweight and obesity but are often compromised by living in poverty.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere20193326
JournalPediatrics
Volume147
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health

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