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School-based programs aimed at the prevention and treatment of obesity: evidence-based interventions for youth in Latin America

School-based programs aimed at the prevention and treatment of obesity: evidence-based interventions for youth in Latin America

Journal of School Health 83(9): 668-677

Rapidly rising childhood obesity rates constitute a public health priority in Latin America which makes it imperative to develop evidence-based strategies. Schools are a promising setting but to date it is unclear how many school-based obesity interventions have been documented in Latin America and what level of evidence can be gathered from such interventions. We performed a systematic review of papers published between 1965 and December 2010. Interventions were considered eligible if they had a school-based component, were done in Latin America, evaluated an obesity related outcome (body mass index [BMI], weight, %body fat, waist circumference, BMI z-score), and compared youth exposed vs not exposed. Ten studies were identified as having a school-based component. Most interventions had a sample of normal and overweight children. The most successful interventions focused on prevention rather than treatment, had longer follow-ups, a multidisciplinary team, and fewer limitations in execution. Three prevention and 2 treatment interventions found sufficient improvements in obesity-related outcomes. We found sufficient evidence to recommend school-based interventions to prevent obesity among youth in Latin America. Evidence-based interventions in the school setting should be promoted as an important component for integrated programs, policies, and monitoring frameworks designed to reverse the childhood obesity in the region.

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Accession: 055662358

Download citation: RISBibTeXText

PMID: 23879787

DOI: 10.1111/josh.12080

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