Interventions for preventing obesity in children – an updated Cochrane review
More children are becoming overweight and obese worldwide. Being overweight as a child can cause health problems, and children may be affected psychologically and in their social life. Overweight children are likely also to be overweight as adults and continue to experience poor physical and mental health.
The review authors searched many scientific databases to find studies that looked at ways of preventing obesity in children. They included studies aimed at all ages of children. Studies were included only if the methods they were using were aimed at changing children’s diet, or their level of physical activity, or both. Only the studies that contained the best information to answer this question, ‘randomised controlled trials’ or RCTs, were searched for.
The new guidelines on physical activity, sedentary behaviour and sleep for children under 5 years of age were developed by a WHO panel of experts. They assessed the effects on young children of inadequate sleep, and time spent sitting watching screens or restrained in chairs and prams. They also reviewed evidence around the benefits of increased activity levels.
The important interactions between physical activity, sedentary behaviour and adequate sleep time, and their impact on physical and mental health and wellbeing, were recognized by the Commission on Ending Childhood Obesity, which called for clear guidance on physical activity, sedentary behaviour and sleep in young children.
Applying the recommendations in these guidelines during the first five years of life will contribute to children’s motor and cognitive development and lifelong health.
These films from Best Beginnings, cover what kind of exercise is safe in pregnancy and why it’s so important to keep active. This information as well as exercise suggestion videos are available in the Baby Buddy app, verified by experts including representatives from Royal College of Midwives, Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health and Royal College of Psychiatrists as well as other key health organisations in the UK.