Objective: The aim of this study is to provide an overview of interventions to reduce or prevent overweight or obesity and improve diet or physical activity.
Methods: A review of meta-analyses and/or systematic reviews of these interventions in any setting or age group were conducted. Narrative systematic reviews were included for intervention categories with limited meta-analyses available. Summary measures including weighted mean difference, standardised mean difference, and I-squared, were examined.
Results: A total of 60 meta-analyses and 23 systematic reviews met the inclusion criteria. Dietary interventions and multi-component interventions targeting overweight and obesity appeared to have the greatest effects, particularly in comparison with workplace or technology or internet-based interventions. Pharmaceutical and surgical interventions produced favourable results for specific population sub-groups (i.e. morbidly obese). Population-wide strategies such as policy interventions have not been widely analysed. The effectiveness of the interventions to assist in maintaining behaviour or weight change remains unclear.
Conclusions: Various individually targeted interventions were shown to reduce body weight, although effect sizes were typically modest, and the durability of effects has been questioned. New approaches to evaluating population-based interventions, such as taxes and regulation, are recommended. Future research modelling the long-term effects of interventions across the lifespan would also be beneficial.
Keywords: Diet; Interventions; Obesity; Physical activity; Review.
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