Family- and school-based correlates of energy balance-related behaviours in 10-12-year-old children: a systematic review within the ENERGY (EuropeaN Energy balance Research to prevent excessive weight Gain among Youth) project

Public Health Nutr. 2012 Aug;15(8):1380-95. doi: 10.1017/S1368980011003168. Epub 2012 Jan 24.


Objective: To identify family- and school-based correlates of specific energy balance-related behaviours (physical activity, sedentary behaviour, breakfast consumption, soft drink consumption) among 10-12-year-olds, using the EnRG framework (Environmental Research framework for weight Gain prevention).

Design: A literature review to identify observational studies exploring at least one family- or school-based correlate of the specific behaviours, resulting in seventy-six articles.

Setting: Eighteen studies were conducted in Europe, forty-one studies in North America and seventeen studies in Australasia.

Subjects: Healthy children aged 10-12 years.

Results: Parental and maternal physical activity, doing physical activities with parents and parental logistic support were identified as the most important, positive correlates of physical activity. Parental rules was the most important correlate of sedentary behaviour and was inversely related to it. School socio-economic status was positively related to physical activity and inversely related to sedentary behaviour. The available studies suggested a positive relationship between soft drink availability at home and consumption. Soft drink availability and consumption at school were the most important school-based correlates of soft drink consumption. A permissive parenting style was related to more soft drink consumption and less breakfast consumption.

Conclusions: An important role has been awarded to parents, suggesting parents should be involved in obesity prevention programmes. Despite the opportunities a school can offer, little research has been done to identify school-environmental correlates of energy balance-related behaviours in this age group. Obesity prevention programmes can focus on the most important correlates to maximize the effectiveness of the programme. Future research should aim at longitudinal studies.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Australasia
  • Breakfast
  • Carbonated Beverages
  • Child
  • Choice Behavior*
  • Energy Metabolism*
  • Europe
  • Feeding Behavior*
  • Health Promotion
  • Humans
  • Motor Activity
  • North America
  • Obesity / prevention & control*
  • Parents
  • Sedentary Behavior
  • Social Environment
  • Weight Gain*