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BMJ Open 3:e002607 doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2013-002607
  • Public health
    • Research

Assessing the short-term outcomes of a community-based intervention for overweight and obese children: The MEND 5-7 programme

  1. P M Sacher1,2
  1. 1Childhood Nutrition Research Centre, University College London, Institute of Child Health, London, UK
  2. 2Research and Programme Development Department, MEND, Bromley, UK
  3. 3Cancer Research, UK Health Behaviour Unit, University College London, London, UK
  1. Correspondence to P M Sacher; MEND; Linden House; 153-155 Masons Hill; Bromley; BR2 9HY; UK; paul.sacher{at}mendcentral.org
  • Received 17 January 2013
  • Revised 8 March 2013
  • Accepted 12 March 2013
  • Published 3 May 2013

Abstract

Objective The aim of this study was to report outcomes of the UK service level delivery of MEND (Mind,Exercise,Nutrition...Do it!) 5-7, a multicomponent, community-based, healthy lifestyle intervention designed for overweight and obese children aged 5–7 years and their families.

Design Repeated measures.

Setting Community venues at 37 locations across the UK.

Participants 440 overweight or obese children (42% boys; mean age 6.1 years; body mass index (BMI) z-score 2.86) and their parents/carers participated in the intervention.

Intervention MEND 5-7 is a 10-week, family-based, child weight-management intervention consisting of weekly group sessions. It includes positive parenting, active play, nutrition education and behaviour change strategies. The intervention is designed to be scalable and delivered by a range of health and social care professionals.

Primary and secondary outcome measures The primary outcome was BMI z-score. Secondary outcome measures included BMI, waist circumference, waist circumference z-score, children's psychological symptoms, parenting self-efficacy, physical activity and sedentary behaviours and the proportion of parents and children eating five or more portions of fruit and vegetables.

Results 274 (62%) children were measured preintervention and post-intervention (baseline; 10-weeks). Post-intervention, mean BMI and waist circumference decreased by 0.5 kg/m2 and 0.9 cm, while z-scores decreased by 0.20 and 0.20, respectively (p<0.0001). Improvements were found in children's psychological symptoms (−1.6 units, p<0.0001), parent self-efficacy (p<0.0001), physical activity (+2.9 h/week, p<0.01), sedentary activities (−4.1 h/week, p<0.0001) and the proportion of parents and children eating five or more portions of fruit and vegetables per day (both p<0.0001). Attendance at the 10 sessions was 73% with a 70% retention rate.

Conclusions Participation in the MEND 5-7 programme was associated with beneficial changes in physical, behavioural and psychological outcomes for children with complete sets of measurement data, when implemented in UK community settings under service level conditions. Further investigation is warranted to establish if these findings are replicable under controlled conditions.

This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial License, which permits use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, the use is non commercial and is otherwise in compliance with the license. See: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/ and http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/legalcode

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