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Prev Med. 2013 May;56(5):265-72. doi: 10.1016/j.ypmed.2013.02.023. Epub 2013 Feb 27.

Community-based dietary and physical activity interventions in low socioeconomic groups in the UK: a mixed methods systematic review.

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  • 1School of Health and Related Research, University of Sheffield, Regent Court, 30 Regent Street, Sheffield, UK.



Low socioeconomic status (SES) is a risk factor for type 2 diabetes and changes in diet and physical activity can prevent diabetes. We assessed the effectiveness and acceptability of community-based dietary and physical activity interventions among low-SES groups in the UK.


We searched relevant databases and web resources from 1990 to November 2009 to identify relevant published and grey literature using an iterative approach, focusing on UK studies.


Thirty-five relevant papers (nine quantitative, 23 qualitative and three mixed methods studies) were data extracted, quality assessed and synthesised using narrative synthesis and thematic analysis. The relationship between interventions and barriers and facilitators was also examined. Dietary/nutritional, food retail, physical activity and multi-component interventions demonstrated mixed effectiveness. Qualitative studies indicated a range of barriers and facilitators, which spanned pragmatic, social and psychological issues. The more effective interventions used a range of techniques to address some surface-level psychological and pragmatic concerns, however many deeper-level social, psychological and pragmatic concerns were not addressed.


Evidence on the effectiveness of community-based dietary and physical activity interventions is inconclusive. A range of barriers and facilitators exist, some of which were addressed by interventions but some of which require consideration in future research.

Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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