Racial/Ethnic Differences in the Effectiveness of a Multisector Childhood Obesity Prevention Intervention

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ObjectivesTo investigate racial/ethnic and language differences in the effectiveness of the Massachusetts Childhood Obesity Research Demonstration (MA-CORD) study among children aged 2 to 4 years enrolled in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC).MethodsWe performed a multisector quasiexperimental study in 2 MA-CORD intervention communities and 1 comparison community. Using WIC data from 2010 to 2015, we examined intervention effect on child weight and behavior outcomes by child race/ethnicity and parental primary language using multilevel linear regression models with an interaction term.ResultsNon-Hispanic Black children exposed to the intervention demonstrated a greater decrease in body mass index (BMI) than did other children (P < .05). Racial/ethnic minority children in the comparison site had greater increases in BMI than did their White counterparts (P < .05). There were no differences in intervention effectiveness by race/ethnicity or language for health behaviors.ConclusionsWhite children demonstrated decreased BMI in both the intervention and control groups. However, intervention minority children demonstrated greater improvements in BMI than did control minority children.Public Health ImplicationsTo reduce racial/ethnic disparities, we need to disseminate effective obesity prevention interventions during early childhood in low-income settings.

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