The Colorado LEAP Study: A Socioecological Approach to Obesity Prevention in Early Childhood

NCT ID: NCT01937481

A Longitudinal Study to Assess if the Effectiveness of a Preschool Nutrition and Physical Activity Program is Sustained in Elementary School
The Colorado Longitudinal Eating And Physical activity (LEAP) Study utilizes a social ecological approach to explore individual, family and environmental factors and their relationship to child weight status over a 3 year timeframe. Our primary research questions are as follows: 1. Are behavior changes (increased willingness to try new foods and gross motor skills) from a preschool nutrition and activity program, The Food Friends®, sustained through early elementary school? 2. Do The Food Friends® programs have an impact on reducing the percentage of children considered overweight and/or obese over a 3 year timeframe? 3. Do food preference and gross motor performance directly affect child weight status or are they mediators to dietary intake and physical activity?
The preschool years are a critical time to begin obesity prevention efforts as they represent a time when young children establish healthy eating habits and physical activity patterns. These habits can place children at risk for obesity and are shaped by many characteristics, including individual characteristics as well as school, family and societal environmental characteristics. Predictive behaviors, or behavioral antecedents, within these environments can influence child behaviors. While many predictive behaviors have been shown to influence dietary intake, physical activity, and weight status, two potential behavioral antecedents - food preference and motor performance - need further exploration. Understanding the context in which child behavioral patterns are developed is critical to developing a model to address childhood obesity. The Colorado LEAP project is a longitudinal cohort study utilizing a controlled quasi-experimental design in 5 rural Colorado communities. Two communities serve as intervention communities with the other 3 as matched controls. Intervention sites receive The Food Friends® nutrition and physical activity programs in preschool and 'booster' programming in kindergarten and 1st grade. Assessments are administered 4 times - twice in preschool (Fall and Spring) and once in both kindergarten and 1st grade (Spring). Observational measures with children are conducted at the school; parent/home measures are sent home and returned to school via the child; and school personnel complete school environment and policy assessments.
Childhood Obesity
Child, Preschool, Parents, Family, Obesity, Overweight, Diet, Overnutrition, Motor Activity, Child Care, Schools
Colorado State University
Colorado State University, USDA Beltsville Human Nutrition Research Center, University of Colorado, Denver
Active, not recruiting
Last Updated
02 Feb 2015
Official Link
United States