HealthDay News — The “Minding the Baby” (MTB) parenting home visiting program can significantly lower rates of obesity in young children, according to a study published online in Pediatrics.

Monica Roosa Ordway, PhD, from Yale University in West Haven, CT, and colleagues evaluated prospective data from first-time, young mothers, living in medically underserved communities, who were randomly assigned to the MTB program. Demographics, maternal mental health, and anthropometrics from 158 children from birth to 2 years were collected.

The researchers found that more children participating in the program had a healthy body mass index at 2 years. In the control group, the rate of obesity was significantly higher (P <.01) vs the intervention group (19.7% vs 3.3%). Children from Hispanic families participating in the MTB intervention were less likely to have overweight or obesity (odds ratio, 0.32)

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“Given the high and disproportionate national prevalence of Hispanic young children with overweight and obesity and the increased costs of obesity-related morbidities, these findings have important clinical, research, and policy implications,” the authors write.

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Ordway MR, Sadler LS, Holland ML, Slade A, Close N, Mayes LC. A home visiting parenting program and child obesity: a randomized trial [published online January 16, 2018]. Pediatrics. doi: 10.1542/peds.2017-1076