Send to

Choose Destination
Syst Rev. 2013 May 10;2:28. doi: 10.1186/2046-4053-2-28.

Protocol for systematic reviews of determinants/correlates of obesity-related dietary and physical activity behaviors in young children (preschool 0 to 6 years): evidence mapping and syntheses.

Author information

MRC Epidemiology Unit, Addenbrookes Hospital, Box 285, Cambridge CB2 0QQ, UK.



The aim of these reviews is to inform the design and content of interventions to reduce obesity in young children. The behaviors that are associated with obesity/overweight have been studied extensively; however, the factors associated with these behaviors in young children (0 to 6 years) have not been systematically reviewed. Over the past few years the focus of obesity prevention has shifted to preschool children because of the high prevalence of obesity at school entry and recognition that habits formed in early life could track into adulthood. In order to develop effective interventions and change behavior, it is important to understand the factors that are associated with those behaviors. For example, we need to understand whether it would be more important to target the family, childcare settings or the wider environment and identify the most effective way of changing these energy balance related behaviors.


Quantitative (intervention and observational) and qualitative literature on determinants/correlates of fruit and vegetable intake, sugar sweetened beverage and other unhealthy diet intake, and physical activity and sedentary behaviors in young children will be systematically identified, mapped and reviewed. A common search strategy (no language or period restrictions) will be used to identify papers from eight electronic databases and this will be supplemented by hand-searching. Next, studies in developed countries that examine the factors associated with these behaviors in children aged 0 to 6 years (at baseline) will be screened and mapped descriptively followed by in-depth data extraction, quality assessment and synthesis. Data from quantitative studies will be summarized using either forest plots or harvest plots and narrative synthesis, and qualitative studies using thematic analysis. Qualitative evidence will be integrated with the quantitative evidence, using a parallel synthesis approach, to provide a deeper understanding of effective strategies to influence these energy balance related behaviors.


In addition to updating and mapping current research, these reviews will be the first to comprehensively synthesize and integrate both the quantitative and qualitative evidence pertaining to determinants/correlates/barriers/facilitators of obesity related behaviors in this young age group (0 to 6 years) with the aim of informing future interventions.


International Prospective Register for Systematic Reviews (PROSPERO) Registration number: CRD42012002881.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for BioMed Central Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center