Rapid infant weight gain (RIWG) is strongly related to childhood overweight and obesity, and prevention of RIWG is an approach to early years obesity prevention. This systematic review aimed to explore effectiveness, deliverers’ and recipients’ experiences of involvement, and key intervention components and processes of such prevention activities.
Key databases and websites were searched systematically for quantitative and qualitative studies covering intervention effectiveness, experiences with intervention involvement or process outcomes. After duplicate screening and quality assessment, papers were analyzed through narrative synthesis, thematic synthesis and intervention component analysis.
Seven quantitative and seven qualitative studies were eligible for inclusion. Most intervention studies reported small, but significant results on infant weight gain. More significant results were measured on weight gain during the first compared with the second year of life. A weak evidence base made elaboration of the relationship between intervention effectiveness and content challenging. Home-delivered interventions may be more relevant for parents. Contextual factors, such as social norms, beliefs and professional identity should be considered during intervention development. Stakeholder involvement can be key to increase intervention acceptability and feasibility.
The field of RIWG prevention is new and evolving, but more research is needed before further conclusions about intervention effectiveness and intervention content can be drawn. Future interventions should take parents, health professionals and other contextual needs into account to improve chances of success. More research on long-term effects on overweight and obesity is needed.