For whom and under what circumstances do school-based energy balance behavior interventions work? Systematic review on moderators

Int J Pediatr Obes. 2011 Jun;6(2-2):e46-57. doi: 10.3109/17477166.2011.566440. Epub 2011 Jun 9.


The aim of this review was to systematically review the results and quality of studies investigating the moderators of school-based interventions aimed at energy balance-related behaviors. We systematically searched the electronic databases of Pubmed, EMBASE, Cochrane, PsycInfo, ERIC and Sportdiscus. In total 61 articles were included. Gender, ethnicity, age, baseline values of outcomes, initial weight status and socioeconomic status were the most frequently studied potential moderators. The moderator with the most convincing evidence was gender. School-based interventions appear to work better for girls than for boys. Due to the inconsistent results, many studies reporting non-significant moderating effects, and the moderate methodological quality of most studies, no further consistent results were found. Consequently, there is lack of insight into what interventions work for whom. Future studies should apply stronger methodology to test moderating effects of important potential target group segmentations.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Body Weight
  • Child
  • Child Behavior*
  • Diet*
  • Effect Modifier, Epidemiologic
  • Energy Intake*
  • Energy Metabolism*
  • Exercise*
  • Female
  • Health Behavior*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Obesity / metabolism
  • Obesity / physiopathology
  • Obesity / prevention & control*
  • Obesity / psychology
  • Research Design
  • School Health Services*
  • Sex Factors
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Treatment Outcome