Open Access Highly Accessed Open Badges Study protocol

A randomized controlled trial to prevent childhood obesity through early childhood feeding and parenting guidance: rationale and design of study

Elizabeth Reifsnider1*, David P McCormick2, Karen W Cullen3, Laura Szalacha4, Michael W Moramarco1, Abigail Diaz5 and Lucy Reyna6

Author Affiliations

1 College of Nursing and Health Innovation, Arizona State University, 500 N. 3rd Street, Phoenix, AZ 85004, USA

2 School of Medicine, University of Texas Medical Branch, 301 University Boulevard, Galveston, TX 77555-1119, USA

3 USDA/ARS Children’s Nutrition Research Center, Baylor College of Medicine, 1100 Bates Street, Houston, TX 77030, USA

4 College of Nursing, Ohio State University, 1585 Neil Avenue, Columbus, OH 43210, USA

5 Houston Department of Health and Human Services, 8000 North Stadium Drive, Houston, TX 77054, USA

6 Reina Enterprises, 2002 S. Wayside, Houston, TX 77023, USA

For all author emails, please log on.

BMC Public Health 2013, 13:880  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-13-880

Published: 24 September 2013



Early and rapid growth in Infants is strongly associated with early development and persistence of obesity in young children. Substantial research has linked child obesity/overweight to increased risks for serious health outcomes, which include adverse physical, psychological, behavioral, or social consequences.


The goal of this study is to compare the effectiveness of structured Community Health Worker (CHW)- provided home visits, using an intervention created through community-based participatory research, to standard care received through the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) office visits in preventing the development of overweight (weight/length ≥85th percentile) and obesity (weight/length ≥95th percentile) in infants during their first 3 years of life. One hundred forty pregnant women in their third trimester (30–36 weeks) will be recruited and randomly assigned to the intervention or control group.


This study will provide prospective data on the effects of an intervention to prevent childhood obesity in children at high risk for obesity due to ethnicity, income, and maternal body mass index (BMI). It will have wide-ranging applicability and the potential for rapid dissemination through the WIC program, and will demonstrate the effectiveness of a community approach though employing CHWs in preventing obesity during the first 3 years of life. This easy-to-implement obesity prevention intervention can be adapted for many locales and diverse communities and can provide evidence for policy change to influence health throughout life.

Trial registration

Clinical Trials Number: NCT01905072

Childhood obesity; Home visiting; Community approach