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The Prevention and Treatment of Childhood Obesity

Effective Healthcare

Bulletin on the effectiveness of health service interventions for decision makers

Source: Centre for Reviews and Dissemination, University of York

  • Obesity is now considered to be a global epidemic. In the UK, the prevalence of overweight and obesity amongst children of all ages is increasing.

  • There is debate around the reasons for the increasing prevalence of childhood overweight and obesity, and possible explanations include an increase in sedentary lifestyles and changes in dietary patterns and eating habits.

  • Halting the rising prevalence of childhood obesity is a public health priority. However, there is a lack of good quality evidence on the effectiveness of interventions on which to base national strategies or inform clinical practice.

  • Currently there are a number of government initiatives specifically targeting schools and there is some evidence that school-based programmes that promote physical activity, the modification of dietary intake and the targeting of sedentary behaviours may help reduce obesity in children, particularly girls.

  • Family-based programmes that involve parents, increase physical activity, provide dietary education and target reductions in sedentary behaviour may help reduce childhood obesity.

  • Future research must be of good methodological quality, involve large numbers of participants, be carried out in appropriate settings and needs to be of longer duration and intensity.

The Effective Health Care bulletins are based on systematic review and synthesis of research on clinical effectiveness, cost effectiveness and acceptability of health service interventions. This is carried out by a research team using established methodological guidelines, with advice from expert consultants for each topic. Great care is taken to ensure that the work, and the conclusions reached, fairly and accurately summarise the research findings. The University of York accepts no responsibility for any consequent damage arising from the use of Effective Health Care.

Note: The contents of the bulletins should be considered in relation to the time of original publication. Significant new research evidence is likely to have become available since then.

The bulletins are also available free of charge via the World Wide Web. The address is: www.york.ac.uk/inst/crd/ehcb.htm

Enquiries concerning the bulletins should be addressed to:
Centre for Reviews and Dissemination, University of York, York, YO10 5DD. Telephone: +44 (0) 1904 321040; Fax: +44 (0) 1904 321041; email: crd@york.ac.uk

The Prevention and Treatment of Childhood Obesity. Effective Health Care, 2002, Volume 7, Number 6. ISSN: 0965-0288

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