Well Baby Group Care: Evaluation of a Promising Intervention for Primary Obesity Prevention in Toddlers

Hildred Machuca, Sandra Arevalo, Barbara Hackley, Jo Applebaum, Arielle Mishkin, Moonseong Heo, Alan Shapiro

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


Background: Nationally, approximately 24% of preschool children are overweight or obese, with low-income communities disproportionately affected. Few interventions to prevent obesity in children at greatest risk have demonstrated positive results. Therefore, we evaluated the effectiveness of a novel group well-child care intervention for primary obesity prevention at age 2 years. Methods: Well Baby Group (WBG) is an alternative to traditional well-child care offered at a federally qualified health center in the South Bronx. Facilitated by a pediatrician and nutritionist, WBG fosters positive dietary behaviors, responsive parenting and feeding practices, and peer support during the first 18 months of life. Multivariable logistic regression was conducted to test the effect of WBG on rates of overweight/obesity at 2 years (BMI-for-age ≥85th percentile) using a nonrandomized comparison group of children receiving traditional care at our center over the same period. Results: Characteristics of mothers and infants were comparable between intervention (n = 47) and comparison (n = 140) groups. Children enrolled in WBG were significantly less likely to be overweight/obese at 2 years than children receiving traditional well-child care (2.1% vs. 15.0%; OR 0.12; 95% CI 0.02-0.94; p = 0.02). In multivariable regression analysis, WBG remained a significant independent protective factor (OR 0.12; 95% CI 0.02-0.93; p = 0.04), adjusting for birthweight and parity. Conclusions: WBG, a replicable model integrated into primary care visits, affords a unique opportunity to intervene consistently and early, providing families in at-risk communities with increased provider time, intensive education, and ongoing support. Further study of group well-child care for primary obesity prevention is warranted to confirm the effectiveness of the model.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)171-178
Number of pages8
JournalChildhood Obesity
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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