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May 2015

Prevention of Obesity in Infancy and Early Childhood: A National Institutes of Health Workshop

Author Affiliations
  • 1Division of Child Behavioral Health, Department of Pediatrics, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
  • 2Department of Environmental Health Sciences, School of Public Health, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
  • 3Center for Human Growth and Development, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
  • 4Division of General Academic Pediatrics, Department of Pediatrics, Massachusetts General Hospital for Children, Boston
  • 5Department of Nutrition, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts
  • 6Family and Consumer Sciences, Department of Foods and Nutrition, University of Georgia, Athens
  • 7Division of Digestive Diseases and Nutrition, National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland
JAMA Pediatr. 2015;169(5):484-490. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2014.3554

Addressing the childhood obesity epidemic continues to be a challenge. Given that once obesity develops it is likely to persist, there has been an increasing focus on prevention at earlier stages of the life course. Research to develop and implement effective prevention and intervention strategies in the first 2 years after birth has been limited. In fall 2013, the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases convened a multidisciplinary workshop to summarize the current state of knowledge regarding the prevention of infant and early childhood obesity and to identify research gaps and opportunities. The questions addressed included (1) “What is known regarding risk for excess weight gain in infancy and early childhood?” (2) “What is known regarding interventions that are promising or have been shown to be efficacious?” and (3) “What are the challenges and opportunities in implementing and evaluating behavioral interventions for parents and other caregivers and their young children?”