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Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2012 Apr;9(4):1438-57. doi: 10.3390/ijerph9041438. Epub 2012 Apr 16.

After-school based obesity prevention interventions: a comprehensive review of the literature.

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  • 1Department of Health & Exercise Science, The University of Oklahoma, 1401 Asp Avenue, HHC 112, Norman, OK 73019, USA.


The purpose of this article was to review primary prevention interventions targeting childhood obesity implemented in the after school environment from 2006 and 2011. A total of 20 interventions were found from 25 studies. Children in the interventions ranged from kindergarten to middle schoolers, however a majority was in the 4th and 5th grades. Most of the interventions targeted both physical activity and dietary behaviors. Among those that focused on only one dimension, physical activity was targeted more than diet. The duration of the interventions greatly varied, but many were short-term or brief. Many interventions were also based on some behavioral theory, with social cognitive theory as the most widely used. Most of the interventions focused on short-term changes, and rarely did any perform a follow-up evaluation. A major limitation among after school interventions was an inadequate use of process evaluations. Overall, interventions resulted in modest changes in behaviors and behavioral antecedents, and results were mixed and generally unfavorable with regards to indicators of obesity. Recommendations for enhancing the effectiveness of after school based childhood obesity interventions are presented.


after school; child obesity; literature review

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