CHILE: Outcomes of a group randomized controlled trial of an intervention to prevent obesity in preschool Hispanic and American Indian children.

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OBJECTIVE: We examined the outcomes of the Child Health Initiative for Lifelong Eating and Exercise (CHILE) study, a group randomized controlled trial to design, implement, and test the efficacy of a trans-community intervention to prevent obesity in children enrolled in Head Start centers in rural American Indian and Hispanic communities in New Mexico.

METHODS: CHILE was a 5-year evidence-based intervention that used a socioecological approach to improving dietary intake and increasing physical activity of 1898 children. The intervention included a classroom curriculum, teacher and food service training, family engagement, grocery store participation, and healthcare provider support. Height and weight measurements were obtained four times (fall of 2008, spring and fall of 2009, and spring of 2010), and body mass index (BMI) z-scores in the intervention and comparison groups were compared.

RESULTS: At baseline, demographic characteristics in the comparison and intervention groups were similar, and 33% of all the children assessed were obese or overweight. At the end of the intervention, there was no significant difference between the two groups in BMI z-scores.

CONCLUSIONS: Obesity prevention research among Hispanic and AI preschool children in rural communities is challenging and complex. Although the CHILE intervention was implemented successfully, changes in overweight and obesity may take longer than 2years to achieve.