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Obes Rev. 2007 Mar;8(2):155-67.

International school-based interventions for preventing obesity in children.

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  • 1Health Promotion and Education, University of Cincinnati, 526 Teachers College, Cincinnati, OH 45221-0002, USA.


The purpose of this article was to review international (excluding the United States) school-based interventions for preventing obesity in children published between 1999 and 2005. A total of 21 such interventions were found from Australia (1), Austria (1), Canada (1), Chile (1), France (1), Germany (3), Greece (1), New Zealand (1), Norway (1), Singapore (1) and the United Kingdom (9). The grade range of these interventions was from pre-school to high school with the majority (17) from elementary schools. Nine of these interventions targeted nutrition behaviours followed by seven aiming to modify both physical activity and nutrition behaviours. Only five interventions in international settings were based on any explicit behavioural theory which is different than the interventions developed in the United States. Majority of the interventions (9) were one academic year long. It can be speculated that if the interventions are behavioural theory-based, then the intervention length can be shortened. All interventions that documented parental involvement successfully influenced obesity indices. Most interventions (16) focused on individual-level behaviour change approaches. Most published interventions (16) used experimental designs with at least 1-year follow-up. Recommendations from international settings for enhancing the effectiveness of school-based childhood obesity interventions are presented.

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