REVIEW UPDATE | Preventing obesity in school-aged children: update of a Cochrane systematic review and meta-analysis

Posted on: Saturday 4th March 2023

Dr Rebecca Hodder and her team have published a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials. This review provides the most contemporary and high quality synthesis of global studies published, to date, on childhood obesity prevention interventions for school-aged children, by setting. Importantly, this review also synthesises available data regarding unintended adverse effects of the included interventions.

The review includes 195 studies published up to June 2021, with the majority of studies being conducted in high-income countries and targeting younger children (6-12 years).

The meta-analysis found that school-based interventions had a very small positive impact on child weight, while no overall significant positive effects were found for after-school, community-based or home-based programs. The review also found that there was insufficient data on the effect of interventions in health care settings.

The review found no associations between study characteristics (such as income level, intervention type, setting) and intervention effects in studies pooled across all settings.

The review concludes that more research is needed to identify effective mechanisms and inform future obesity prevention public health policy.

For more information, see the full text article and the plain language summary, “In which settings are programs effective for preventing obesity in school-aged children?”


Hodder RK, O’Brien KM, Lorien S, Wolfenden L, Moore TH, Hall A, Yoong SL, Summerbell C. Interventions to prevent obesity in school-aged children 6-18 years: An update of a Cochrane systematic review and meta-analysis including studies from 2015–2021. EClinicalMedicine. 2022 Dec 1;54:101635. DOI: