There is growing evidence that community-based interventions can reduce childhood obesity in older children. We aimed to determine the effectiveness of the Romp & Chomp intervention in reducing obesity and promoting healthy eating and active play in children aged 0–5 y. Romp & Chomp was a community-wide, multisetting, multistrategy intervention conducted in Australia from 2004 to 2008. The intervention occurred in a large regional city (Geelong) with a target group of 12,000 children and focused on community capacity building and environmental (political, sociocultural, and physical) changes to increase healthy eating and active play in early-childhood care and educational settings. The evaluation was repeat cross-sectional with a quasiexperimental design and comparison sample. Main outcome measures were body mass index (BMI), standardized BMI (zBMI; according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 2000 reference charts), and prevalence of overweight/obesity and obesity-related behaviors in children aged 2 and 3.5 y. After the intervention there was a significantly lower mean weight, BMI, and zBMI in the 3.5-y-old subsample and a significantly lower prevalence of overweight/obesity in both the 2- and 3.5-y-old subsamples (by 2.5 and 3.4 percentage points, respectively) than in the comparison sample (a difference of 0.7 percentage points; P < 0.05) compared with baseline values. Intervention child-behavioral data showed a significantly lower intake of packaged snacks (by 0.23 serving), fruit juice (0.52 serving), and cordial (0.43 serving) than that in the comparison sample (all P < 0.05). A community-wide multisetting, multistrategy intervention in early-childhood settings can reduce childhood obesity and improve young children's diets. This trial was registered with the Australian Clinical Trials Registry at anzctr.org.au as ACTRN12607000374460.
American Journal of Clinical Nutrition Vol. 91, Issue 4, p. 831-840