Core Outcome Measures in Effectiveness Trials

Developing a Core Outcome Set for Childhood Obesity Prevention: A Systematic Review

General Information

Synthesis of effects of infant feeding interventions to prevent childhood obesity is limited by
outcome measurement and reporting heterogeneity. Core outcome sets (COS) represent
standardised approaches to outcome selection and reporting. The aim of this review is to
identify feeding outcomes used in infant feeding studies to inform an infant feeding COS for
obesity prevention interventions. The databases EMBASE, Medline, CINAHL, CENTRAL,
and PsycINFO databases, searched from inception to February 2017. Studies eligible for
inclusion must examine any infant feeding outcome in children =1 year. Feeding outcomes
include those measured using self-report and/or observational methods, and include dietary
intake, parent-child interaction, and parental beliefs, among others. Data were extracted using
a standardised data extraction form. Outcomes were assigned to outcome domains using an
inductive, iterative process with a multidisciplinary team. We identified 82 unique outcomes,
representing 9 outcome domains. Outcome domains were: ‘breast and formula feeding’,
‘introduction of solids’, ‘parent feeding practices and styles’, ‘parent knowledge and beliefs’,
‘practical feeding’, ‘food environment’, ‘dietary intake’, ‘perceptions of infant behaviour and
preferences’, and ‘child weight outcomes’. Heterogeneity in definition and frequency of
outcomes was noted in reviewed studies. ‘Introduction of solids’ (59.5%) and ‘breastfeeding
duration’ (55.5%) were the most frequently reported outcomes. Infant feeding studies focus
predominantly on consumption of milks and solids, and infant weight. Less focus is given to
modifiable parental and environmental factors. An infant feeding COS can minimise
heterogeneity in selection and reporting of infant feeding outcomes for childhood obesity
prevention interventions.


Karen Matvienko-Sikar
Ciara Griffin
Niamh McGrath
Elaine Toomey
Molly Byrne
Colette Kelly
Caroline Heary
Declan Devane
Patricia M Kearney


Maternal and Child Nutrition
Further Study Information

Funding source(s):
This research was supported by the Health Research Board funding award ICE-2015-1026 and an Irish Research Council New Foundations Award. Ciara Griffin was in receipt of a HRB-TMRN summer studentship to support this research.

Health Area

Disease Category
Child health

Disease Name
Feeding the infant

Target Population

Age Range
0 - 1


Nature / type of Intervention
Diet and nutrition


Systematic review

Stakeholders Involved


Study Type

Systematic review of outcomes measured in trials

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