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Examining the evidence for policy and environmental strategies to prevent childhood obesity in black communities: new directions and next steps

05 Sep 2014


Exposure to physical and policy environments that limit availability, affordability and appeal of healthy eating and active living options is higher for U.S. blacks than whites. This may contribute to high risk of obesity in black communities and limit effectiveness of preventive interventions. Here, we assess applicability to black Americans of findings from a prior evidence review system designed to accelerate the discovery and application of policy and environmental strategies for childhood obesity prevention and assess external validity. The database included 600 peer-reviewed articles reporting data from 396 sets of studies (study groupings) published from January 2000 through May 2009 and pertained to 24 types of policy and environmental strategies. Only 33 study groupings (∼8%) included ≥50% black Americans or reported subgroup analyses. Of 10 evaluation studies for interventions rated as effective for all populations in the primary review, 8 suggested effectiveness of child-focused interventions in school or child care settings for obesity- or physical activity-related outcomes in black Americans. Overall findings highlight the need for rigorous evaluations of interventions that reach black children in community or institutional settings, and conceptual frameworks and research designs geared to identifying ethnic or ethnicity–income group differences in intervention effects.

5 September 2014

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