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Reducing obesity in early childhood : results from romp & chomp, an Australian community-wide intervention program

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journal contribution
posted on 2010-04-01, 00:00 authored by A De Silva-Sanigorski, Colin BellColin Bell, Peter Kremer, Melanie NicholsMelanie Nichols, M Crellin, M Smith, S Sharp, Florentine Martino, L Carpenter, Rachel Boak, Narelle RobertsonNarelle Robertson, Boyd SwinburnBoyd Swinburn
Background: There is growing evidence that community-based interventions can reduce childhood obesity in older children.
Objective: 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.
Design: 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.
Results: 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).
Conclusion: 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 as ACTRN12607000374460.



American journal of clinical nutrition






831 - 840


American Society for Nutrition


Bethesda, Md.







Publication classification

C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

Copyright notice

2010, American Society for Nutrition