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Delivering in‐school interventions to improve dietary behaviours amongst 11‐ to 16‐year‐olds: A systematic review

14 Dec 2018


Childhood obesity is a global health concern, which has both short‐ and long‐term health consequences for the individual, and is a potential burden on health care services and the wider economy. The school environment is a setting where changes can be applied to dietary behaviours, as schools have direct and intensive contact with children. This systematic review evaluated school‐based interventions designed to improve dietary behaviours among adolescents (11‐ to 16‐year‐olds). The aims were to review types of interventions delivered, dietary behaviours targeted, and interventions' effectiveness in improving dietary behaviour and associated intervention components. Twenty‐nine school‐based interventional studies with this population were identified for review. The data were synthesized by identifying and comparing individual studies' results, intervention components, and characteristics. Interventions appeared more effective when they involved peers, used educational media to deliver health messages, increased availability of healthy foods in school, and incorporated computer‐based individualized feedback with normative information on eating behaviours. A limitation of the review was the lack of description in certain reviewed studies and the nonfeasibility of conducting a meta‐analysis owing to study heterogeneity. Future interventions with this population could consider including the aforementioned components, gender‐specific feedback, and both short‐ and long‐term follow‐ups as change may not be apparent immediately and to determine if changes are sustained.

Click here to view the full article which appeared in Obesity Reviews