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Research Studies is a monthly compilation of research articles funded by AHRQ or authored by AHRQ researchers and recently published in journals or newsletters.
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Bramante CT, Thornton RLJ, Bennett WL
Systematic review of natural experiments for childhood obesity prevention and control.
This article reviews the effectiveness of population-level policies and programs from natural experiments for childhood obesity prevention. A search of PubMed, CINAHL, PsycINFO, and EconLit from 2000 to 2017 sought studies about policies evaluated by natural experiments reporting childhood BMI outcomes. Interventions were classified by environmental focus and stratified by setting; risk of bias was evaluated for each study. Most of the studies evaluated took place in a school setting. The most common environmental focus in any setting was food/beverage. All four of the studies that focused on food/beverage and physical activity in schools showed decreased prevalence of overweight/obesity in the subjects. BMI decreased in all four studies in both school and community settings. The authors note that while school-based policies focusing on both food/beverage and physical activity environments showed consistent improvement in BMI, most of these studies had high risk of bias. Improved methods for the evaluation of natural experiments for childhood obesity prevention are needed.
Citation: Bramante CT, Thornton RLJ, Bennett WL . Systematic review of natural experiments for childhood obesity prevention and control. Am J Prev Med 2019 Jan;56(1):147-58. doi: 10.1016/j.amepre.2018.08.023..
Keywords: Children/Adolescents, Evidence-Based Practice, Obesity, Obesity: Weight Management, Prevention