Study finds small but positive impact of school-based interventions on childhood obesity


In a current research printed within the journal eClinicalMedicine, researchers discover the effectiveness of interventions in stopping weight problems in kids.

Research: Interventions to prevent obesity in school-aged children 6-18 years: An update of a Cochrane systematic review and meta-analysis including studies from 2015–2021. Picture Credit score: Floor Image /

Rising charges of childhood weight problems

In 2016, researchers estimated that about 340 million kids between the ages of 5 and 19 had been obese or overweight. Extra lately, a pointy improve within the incidence of childhood weight problems through the coronavirus illness 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has been reported.

Being overweight or overweight is related to an elevated danger of creating varied well being situations, together with most cancers and heart problems. Likewise, in kids, being overweight can be related to varied bodily, psychological well being, and social outcomes.

Over the previous a number of years, an rising variety of scientific experiences have been printed on the effectiveness of various interventions geared toward decreasing or stopping weight problems in kids. As new knowledge is printed, it’s essential for policymakers and healthcare suppliers to be cognizant of the helpful and antagonistic results related to these packages, in addition to the practicality of their related prices.

In regards to the research

Eligible trials included randomized management trials (RCTs) that assessed an intervention for childhood weight problems prevention in comparison with ordinary care, non-intervention management cohort, or an alternate intervention. RCTs of kids between six and 18 years of age at baseline had been eligible for evaluation within the present research.

RCTs that recruited contributors who had been at an elevated danger of weight problems compared to the final inhabitants had been included within the research. As well as, interventions with an underlying intention or rationale of stopping childhood weight problems had been additionally thought-about for the evaluation.

Eligible research famous a toddler weight end result at baseline and post-intervention from not less than 12 weeks after baseline. Eligible weight outcomes included physique mass index (BMI), the incidence of obese/weight problems, p.c fats content material, weight, and skin-fold thickness. Secondary outcomes reminiscent of antagonistic results and cost-effectiveness had been additionally assessed.

The present Cochrane evaluation obtained outcomes from 153 research. One other search detected an extra 315 probably eligible articles and 67 present research after screening the titles and abstracts.

One other search of digital databases, together with the Cochrane Central Register of Managed Trials (CENTRAL), Embase, Medline, PsycINFO, and Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Well being Literature (CINAHL), was carried out by an data specialist to establish new information printed after the newest search.


Throughout the research concerned within the current evaluation, in addition to these recognized within the new search, 1,524 full texts had been examined for eligibility. Taken collectively, 195 research had been included, 114 of which belonged to the present evaluation and 81 from the brand new evaluation.

A lot of the research concerned kids between six and 12 years of age. Furthermore, 115 research examined interventions that focused bodily actions and weight loss plan for 12 months or much less.

The meta-analysis of 93 trials evaluating school-based interventions to regulate cohorts confirmed a small constructive impression on BMI, with a BMI rating of 0.11 much less for the intervention group than the management group. Moreover, a meta-analysis of just about 13 trials that in contrast home-based interventions for childhood weight problems prevention to controls didn’t have a big impression on BMI.

Of the 39 research that measured BMI however weren’t pooled, 22 famous a constructive affect. Nonetheless, one meta-analysis of 12 trials that in contrast after-school program interventions to a management cohort didn’t establish any vital impression on BMI.

A complete of 53 research assessed potential antagonistic occasions, reminiscent of unhealthy weight management behaviors, variation within the incidence of underweight people, dangerous physique image-related results, and high quality of life. Moreover, eight research highlighted not less than one unintended antagonistic affect on an end result variable aside from weight.

Three school-based research famous a rise in weight concern behaviors or unhealthy weight management, whereas one faculty, home-study, or after-school program every noticed elevated minor ankle sprains, peer weight speak, strained muscle tissue/tendons and bruises, overexercising, depressive symptom rating, or meals consumption within the intervention group as in comparison with the management.

Two research reported dizziness in each intervention and management cohorts due to medical procedures. Moreover, 10 research highlighted outcomes from cost-effectiveness assessments and 28 famous absolute prices, with 9 of those research reporting that the interventions had been cost-effective.


The research findings discovered a small constructive impression related to school-based weight problems prevention interventions. Importantly, the prevalence of antagonistic results was not frequent nor extreme, even when minor sprains and will increase in unhealthy weight management amongst kids had been reported.

Nonetheless, no sturdy conclusions could possibly be drawn with respect to cost-effectiveness on account of restricted reporting. Meta-regression evaluation throughout all settings famous that not one of the assessed research options had been associated to an impact on BMI.

Journal reference:

  • Hodder, R. Okay., O’Brien, Okay. M., Lorien, S., et al. (2023). Interventions to forestall weight problems in school-aged kids 6-18 years: An replace of a Cochrane systematic evaluation and meta-analysis together with research from 2015–2021. EclinicalMedicine. doi:10.1016/j.eclinm.2022.101635
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