Prevention of overweight in preschool children: Results of kindergarten-based interventions

B. Jouret, N. Ahluwalia, M. Dupuy, C. Cristini, L. Nègre-Pages, H. Grandjean, M. Tauber

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Scopus citations


Objective:Given the increasing prevalence of pediatric obesity, we evaluated two kindergarten-based strategies for reducing overweight in preschool children in the Haute-Garonne Department in France.Methods:Kindergartens (n79) were randomly assigned to one of the two strategies and followed for 2 years. In the first group (Epidémiologie et prévention de lobésité infantile, EPIPOI-1), parents and teachers received basic information on overweight and health, and children underwent screening to identify those with overweight (body mass index (BMI) 90th percentile) or at risk for overweight (BMI between 75 and 90th percentile), who were then followed up by their physicians. EPIPOI-2 children, in addition, received kindergarten-based education to promote healthy practices related to nutrition, physical activity and sedentary behaviors. Data on control children from non-intervention kindergartens (n40) were retrieved from medical records at the Division of School Health.Results:At baseline, groups differed significantly on age and school area (underprivileged/ not). Owing to a significant interaction between school area and group, analyses were stratified by school area. At baseline, groups did not differ on overweight prevalence and BMI z-scores for any school area. After intervention, prevalence of overweight, BMI z-score and change in BMI z-score were significantly lower in intervention groups compared with controls in underprivileged areas. Using multilevel analysis adjusted for potential confounders, a significant effect on overweight prevalence at the end of the study was noted for EPIPOI-1 in underprivileged areas only (odds ratio and 95% confidence interval: 0.18 (0.07-0.51). In non-underprivileged areas, the gain in BMI z-score was lower in EPIPOI-2 group compared with control and EPIPOI-1.Conclusion:Our results suggest that simple measures involving increasing awareness on overweight and health, and periodic monitoring of weight and height with follow-up care when indicated, could be useful to reduce overweight in young children from underprivileged areas. A reinforced strategy with an education component, in addition, may be indicated in children in non-underprivileged areas.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1075-1083
Number of pages9
JournalInternational Journal of Obesity
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2009

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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