Background: Overweight is a major health issue, and parent-targeted interventions to promote healthy development in children are needed.

Objective: The study aimed to evaluate E-health4Uth Healthy Toddler, an intervention that educates parents of children aged 18 to 24 months regarding health-related behaviors, as compared with usual care. The effect of this intervention on the following primary outcomes was evaluated when the children were 36 months of age: health-related behaviors (breakfast daily, activity and outside play, sweetened beverage consumption, television (TV) viewing and computer time), body mass index (BMI), and the prevalence of overweight and obesity.

Methods: The BeeBOFT (acronym for breastfeeding, breakfast daily, outside playing, few sweet drinks, less TV viewing) study is a cluster randomized controlled trial involving 51 Youth Health Care (YHC) teams. In total, 1094 parents participated in the control group, and 1008 parents participated in the E-health4Uth Healthy Toddler intervention group. The intervention consisted of Web-based personalized advice given to parents who completed an eHealth module and discussion of the advice during a regular well-child visit. In this study the eHealth module was offered to parents before two regular well-child visits at 18 and 24 months of age. During the well-child visits, the parents’ personalized advice was combined with face-to-face counseling provided by the YHC professional. Parents in the control group received usual care, consisting of the regular well-child visits during which general information on child health-related behavior was provided to parents. Parents completed questionnaires regarding family characteristics and health-related behaviors when the child was 1 month (inclusion), 6 months, 14 months, and 36 months (follow-up) of age. The child’s height and weight were measured by trained health care professionals from birth through 36 months of age at fixed time points. Multilevel linear and logistic regression models were used to evaluate the primary outcomes at 36 months of age.

Results: At 36 months, we observed no differences between health-related behaviors of children, BMI or the percentage of children having overweight or obesity in the control and intervention group (P>.05). An analysis of the intervention effect revealed that boys benefited from eating breakfast daily, non-Dutch children spent more time being active or playing outdoors, children of low-educated parents and of overweight and obese mothers spent less time watching TV or using the computer, and children of normal weight mothers drank less sweetened beverages (P<.05) compared with the control group.

Conclusions: The E-health4Uth Healthy Toddler intervention resulted in small improvements in health-related behaviors among subgroups but had no significant effects with respect to the children’s BMI. We conclude that the E-health4Uth Healthy Toddler intervention may be useful for pediatric health care professionals in terms of providing parents with personalized information regarding their child’s health-related behaviors.

Additional Metadata
Keywords Body mass index, Child health, Child, preschool, EHealth, Healthy lifestyle, Intervention study, Parenting, Randomized controlled trial
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Journal Journal of Medical Internet Research
van Grieken, A, Vlasblom, J.D, Wang, L, Beltman, P.A, Boere-Boonekamp, M.M, l' Hoir, M.P, & Raat, H. (2017). Personalized web-based advice in combination with well-child visits to prevent overweight in young children: Cluster randomized controlled trial. Journal of Medical Internet Research, 19(7). doi:10.2196/jmir.7115