Effectiveness of Nutrition Intervention in a Selected Group of Overweight and Obese African-American Preschoolers

  • Yulyu Yeh
  • Kathryn Brogan Hartlieb
  • Cynthia Danford
  • K.-L. Catherine Jen


High prevalence of childhood obesity persists as a public health concern in the USA. However, limited study has been conducted on the effectiveness of nutrition education focused on African-American (AA) preschoolers (PSLRs) in the preschool settings. The aim of this pilot study was to explore the effectiveness of nutrition education on AA PSLR’s health. A convenience sample of 164 PSLRs (95% AA, 44% female) from six Head Start (HS) centers in a Midwestern metropolitan area was randomly assigned to 3 groups: intervention group A, standard curriculum plus nutrition education for PSLRs; intervention group B, standard curriculum plus nutrition education for PSLRs and their caregivers (CGs); and control group, standard curriculum. Baseline and post-intervention differences within each group and differences among the three groups in body mass index (BMI) percentiles, blood lipid profile, and food preference/knowledge were analyzed. No significant changes in BMI percentiles among the three groups were observed. When only overweight and obese PSLRs were considered, there was a significant reduction in BMI percentile in group B (PSLR + CG) and control group. More PSLRs in all three groups had blood lipid levels in the acceptable with few in the high-risk levels. There were no changes in nutrition knowledge and healthy eating behavior post-intervention. This pilot study supports including both PSLRs and CGs in future preschool-based interventions and the need for more intense intervention to optimize healthy outcomes, especially for those AA PSLRs who are overweight or obese.


Nutrition education Obesity Preschoolers African American 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

The research protocol was approved by Institution Review Board of the institution and the HS program.


This study was funded by a grant from the Office of the Vice President for Research, Wayne State University. The intervention material will be available upon request.

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki Declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from children’s caregivers participating in the study.


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Copyright information

© W. Montague Cobb-NMA Health Institute 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Yulyu Yeh
    • 1
    • 2
  • Kathryn Brogan Hartlieb
    • 1
    • 3
  • Cynthia Danford
    • 1
    • 4
  • K.-L. Catherine Jen
    • 1
  1. 1.Wayne State UniversityDetroitUSA
  2. 2.Texas A & M UniversityCollege StationUSA
  3. 3.Florida International UniversityMiamiUSA
  4. 4.University of PittsburgPittsburgUSA

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