Intergenerational energy balance interventions: a systematic literature review

Health Educ Behav. 2011 Apr;38(2):171-97. doi: 10.1177/1090198110378973. Epub 2011 Mar 4.


Many nations have witnessed a dramatic increase in the prevalence of obesity and overweight across their population. Recognizing the influence of the household environment on energy balance has led many researchers to suggest that intergenerational interventions hold promise for addressing this epidemic. Yet few comprehensive reviews of intergenerational energy balance interventions have been undertaken. Our review of the literature over the past decade revealed that intergenerational intervention approaches to enhance energy balance use a broad array of designs, target populations, and theoretical models, making results difficult to compare and "best practices" challenging to identify. Additional themes include variation in how interventions incorporate the intergenerational component; an increasing acknowledgment of the importance of ecological models; variations in the location of interventions delivery; diversity in the intervention flexibility/structure, intensity, and duration; and variation in outcomes and measures used across studies. We discuss implications and future directions of intergenerational energy balance approaches.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Databases, Bibliographic
  • Energy Intake / physiology
  • Energy Metabolism / physiology
  • Family Health
  • Health Behavior*
  • Health Promotion / methods*
  • Humans
  • Intergenerational Relations*
  • Obesity / epidemiology
  • Obesity / metabolism
  • Obesity / prevention & control*