The first 1,000 days, or the period from conception through age 2, is increasingly recognized as a critical period for the development of childhood obesity and its adverse consequences. This issue brief is based on two review papers that examined evidence on risk factors for developing childhood obesity and interventions that could prevent childhood obesity later in life. The evidence is presented on risk factors from conception to delivery, and from birth through age 2. Several risk factors were consistently associated with later childhood overweight: higher maternal pre-pregnancy BMI; maternal excess weight gain during pregnancy; prenatal tobacco exposure; high infant birth weight; and high infant weight gain. The evidence on interventions includes those conducted during pregnancy, those starting at pregnancy and continuing after birth, and those starting after birth but before age 2. Only a small number of effective early-life interventions for childhood obesity were found, and most interventions focused on individual or family-level behavior changes. Interventions focusing on multiple risk factors and delivered across a variety of settings may help reduce childhood obesity risk.
The Impact of the First 1,000 Days on Childhood Obesity
The first 1,000 days – conception through age 2 – represents an important period for the development and prevention of childhood obesity. This study reviews existing evidence from interventions occurring in the first 1,000 days that included prevention of childhood overweight or obesity as an outcome, identifies gaps in current … More
This study reviews existing evidence for modifiable childhood obesity risk factors that are present from conception to age 2. This period, described as the first 1,000 days, is a critical period for development of childhood obesity and its adverse consequences. The results of this study are based on 282 studies … More
The USDA Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) provides critical nutrition assistance to lower-income women, infants, and young children. During the coronavirus pandemic, unemployment has risen to levels greater than experienced during the Great Recession, and food insecurity has also increased, making WIC’s role more important … More