Healthy Start

The ”Healthy Start” study is an intervention project, where the aim is to examine if an early, targeted intervention can prevent development of overweight and obesity in children aged 2-6 years who are all normal weight, but have a statistically increased risk of becoming overweight or obese at a later time point.

Based on information from the Danish national birth registry and the administrative birth forms, children were selected if they were born between 01.01.2004 and 31.12.2007 in one of 11 municipalities from the greater Copenhagen area, and either were born with a high birth weight (≥ 4000 gram), had a mother with a high Body Mass Index (BMI) prior to pregnancy (> 28 kg/m2), or had a mother with low socioeconomic status (SES) (≤ 10 years of education).

A total of 3722 children were selected and randomized into 3 groups:

The intervention group
This group was invited to receive the intervention, which contained up to 10 voluntary consultations with a health consultant. The children in the intervention group had anthropometric measurements taken at baseline, during the intervention period, as well as at the end of the intervention period. Children who were overweight at baseline were excluded, but were offered participation in a separate study. The consultations were focused on optimizing diet-, physical activity- and sleep habits, as well as reducing stress in the family. In addition to the consultations, the families in the intervention group were offered voluntary participation in play arrangements and cooking classes. A total of 271 children participated in the intervention group at baseline.

The control group
Families in the control group was, like the intervention group, informed that their child is predisposed to develop overweight. Children in the control group were offered a single consultation with a health consultant at baseline, and had anthropometric measurements taken at baseline and at the end of the intervention period, but were not examined further during the intervention period. Children who were overweight at baseline were excluded, but were offered participation (as control group) in a separate project. A total of 272 children participated in the control group at baseline.

The shadow control group
Families in the shadow control group were not informed that their child was predisposed to develop overweight. Information on the children’s heights and weights at baseline and at the end of the intervention period were collected from the general practitioners. Children who were overweight at baseline were excluded, but participated as a shadow control group in a separate project. A total of 420 children participated in the shadow control group at baseline.

Data
During the ”Healthy Start” intervention study, a number of data has been collected:

  • 4-days dietary record (baseline and follow-up)
  • Questionnaire (completed by parents) regarding meal habits, activity habits, sleep habits, stress in the family, family structure as well as demographical information (baseline and follow-up)
  • Objective measurements of sleep habits from Actigraphy
  • Objective measurements of activity level from Actigraphy
  • Hair samples from children and parents to examine levels of the stress hormone cortisol
  • Saliva samples from children and parents to purification and determination of DNA
  • Height and weight
  • Skinfolds
  • Waist circumference
  • Hip circumference
  • Bio impedance

Get more information about the project on www.sundstart.nu