A mHealth randomized controlled trial to reduce sugar-sweetened beverage intake in preschool-aged children

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Abstract

Background:

Sugar-sweetened beverages and maternal weight are strong drivers of child obesity, but few studies have targeted these risk factors as an obesity prevention strategy in children.

Objective:

The objective of this study was to test the efficacy of a smartphone-delivered intervention to reduce parent-provided sugar-sweetened beverage and juice (SSB/juice) consumption among children ages 3–5 and maternal weight.

Methods:

Mothers with overweight or obesity, who had a child ages 3–5 that consumed at least 12 fl. oz./day of SSB/juice (N = 51 dyads) were randomized to the Smart Moms group that received one group session, lessons on a mobile website, and text messages, or to a waitlist control group. Mothers self-monitored their children's beverages in addition to their own beverages, high-calorie foods, and weight. Assessments at baseline, 3, and 6 months included dietary recalls to measure SSB/juice intake and objectively measured maternal weight.

Results:

Using linear mixed models controlling for baseline values, child age and race, there was a greater reduction in child SSB/juice in Smart Moms compared with control at 6 months (−9.7 oz./day vs. 1.7 oz./day, p < .01). Mothers in Smart Moms lost 2.4 kg at 6 months compared with a 0.9-kg gain in the control group (p < .01).

Conclusions:

An intervention delivered using mHealth technologies can target mothers to change child dietary behaviours and improve maternal weight, which suggests a novel approach to family-based obesity prevention.

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