In view of the prevalence, health consequences, and costs of childhood obesity, there has been substantial interest in identifying effective interventions to prevent excess weight gain in young people. In this systematic review, we expand on previous reviews of obesity prevention interventions by including recent studies (until May 23, 2017) from all parts of the world. We searched MEDLINE, Embase, CINAHL Plus, Web of Science, CAB Abstracts, and PAIS Index and included randomised controlled trials, quasi-experimental studies, or natural experiments with: (1) a control group; (2) minimum follow-up of 12 months for community-based and home-based interventions or 6 months for school-based and preschool-based interventions; and (3) a primary outcome of BMI, BMI Z score, BMI percentile, body fat percentage, skinfold thickness, waist circumference, or prevalence of overweight or obesity. School-based interventions with combined diet and physical activity components and a home element (n=41) had greatest effectiveness; evidence in support of the effect of preschool-based (n=6), community-based (n=7), and home-based (n=2) interventions was limited by a paucity of studies and heterogeneity in study design. The effectiveness of school-based interventions that combined diet and physical activity components suggests that they hold promise for childhood obesity prevention worldwide. More research with rigorous evaluation and consistent reporting is needed in non-school settings and in combinations of settings.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Internal Medicine
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism