Leveraging Ongoing Home Visitation Programs to Address Obesity Disparities Among Underserved, Low-Income Mothers And Children

Sarah Salvy, PhD and Gareth Dutton, PhD

In many cities in Alabama, caregivers of young children enrolled in federally-funded home visitation maternal-child health programs receive comprehensive psychosocial and educational services to help them prepare their child for school. 

A study by Drs. Sarah Salvy and Gareth Dutton takes the school readiness program one step further by embedding an in-home obesity prevention intervention. Rather than focusing on obesity, the program encourages mothers and young children to develop healthy habits, starting with small steps, such as increasing fruit and vegetable consumption and physical activity and decreasing consumption of fried foods and sugar sweetened beverages. These small steps lead to the creation of habits that promote the well-being of mothers and children. 

Along with helping mothers and children develop healthy habits, the study measures their change in weight and access to healthy food and physical activity.