Systematic review and meta-analysis of childhood obesity interventions for preschool children aged 2-5 years

Nov 2, 2020

Extensive efforts to review the evidence of childhood obesity prevention programs have been made by the scientific community. However, most meta-analyses have included only randomized, control trials, do not allow for examination of sub-components of interventions, and do not examine sub-populations that may be impacted (or not) by interventions. Lorrene Ritchie, director and cooperative extension specialist of the University of California, Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources (UC ANR) Nutrition Policy Institute (NPI), collaborated with researchers from across the United States to conduct a systematic review and meta-analysis to fill these gaps. The systematic review and meta-analysis, and an accompanying paper describing the methods used to develop a taxonomy for childhood obesity interventions to use in the meta-analysis, were published in the journal Childhood Obesity. The review includes 51 studies evaluating 58 interventions that, overall, showed a lower BMI for preschool children participating in the interventions compared to children who did not receive interventions. The review and meta-analysis also suggest that the childhood obesity interventions that were most successful included engaging caregivers in praise/encouragement for positive health-related behavior; providing education about the importance of screen time reduction to caregivers; and engaging pediatricians and health care providers. The systematic review and meta-analysis were conducted in collaboration by Lori Scott-Sheldon, Larry Hedges, Chris Cyr, Deborah Young-Hyman, Mackenzie Magnus, Heather King, Sonia Arteaga, John Crawley, Christina Economos, Debra Hair-Joshu, Christine Hunter, Bruce Lee, Shiriki Kumanyika, Thomas Robinson and Marlene Schwartz. The taxonomy methods paper was written in collaboration by Heather King, Mackenzie Magnus, Larry Hedges, Deborah Young-Hyman, Laura Kettel Khan, Lori Scott-Sheldon, Jason Saul, Sonia Arteaga, John Cawley, Christina Economos, Debra Haire-Joshu, Christine Hunter, Bruce Lee, Shiriki Kumanyika, Thomas Robinson, and Marlen Schwartz.

By Danielle L. Lee
Author - Director of Communications & Research Engagement