Essential obesity, even in childhood, has a multifactorial origin, being mainly determined by the interaction of environmental factors, primarily an incorrect lifestyle, and individual factors, including genetic risk factors. The return to a "normal" weight condition, particularly if an excess weight has arisen in the first years of life, seems very diﬃcult to achieve due to mechanisms that are not only behavioral but also related to epigenetic imprinting characterized by a trans-generational effect. Numerous risk factors that influence the development and maintenance of an obese phenotype act as early as prenatally and particularly in the first 1000 days of life.
While there is wide evidence on the development of childhood obesity-related diseases, there is scarce evidence on what interventions are proven to be effective and long-lasting. The observation that childhood obesity in developed countries presents itself with clear social and geographic gradients justifies primary prevention interventions implemented at family and community levels.
There are numerous interventions for pediatric lifestyle promotion, particularly those aimed at primary and middle school; few, however, have targeted the 0-6 age group. Furthermore, most of lifestyle promotion interventions have not been measured in terms of effectiveness.
Bimbingamba is an initiative aimed at promoting healthy diet and physical exercise among children in the 0-6 age group. The initiative will take place in a municipality in Northern Italy and will involve the entire community of resident children; the general objective of this project is to assess the effectiveness of such an intervention.
The expected result is twofold:
- The description of weight status and its time trend in the 0-6 age group, by socio-economic level, parents' characteristics, and lifestyle of the children and their families.
- The estimate of the effectiveness of community-based interventions on lifestyles and bio-metrics, health, well-being outcomes, and soft-skills in the 0-6-year-old population.