A systematic review on empowerment for healthy nutrition in health promotion

Public Health Nutr. 2015 Dec;18(17):3146-54. doi: 10.1017/S1368980015000270. Epub 2015 Feb 17.


Objective: The present review aimed to identify and synthesize studies that used an empowerment approach within the field of healthy nutrition.

Design: A systematic review was conducted. Studies were identified by database searching (PubMed, PsycINFO, Web of Science and Psyndex). Searching, selecting and reporting were done according to the PRISMA (Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic reviews and Meta-Analyses) Statement.

Setting: Health promotion including the subject of healthy nutrition.

Subjects: Individuals from non-clinical populations.

Results: A total of 1226 studies were screened for eligibility, eight studies were finally included. Three studies used the empowerment approach within a qualitative research paradigm and five studies within (quasi-) experimental intervention studies. Heterogeneity in settings, samples and evaluation methods was high. Most studies referred to the key message of empowerment, i.e. taking control over one's own life. However, the ways in which this key message was implemented in the interventions differed considerably.

Conclusions: The number of studies included was very low. Furthermore, most studies had some limitations in terms of reporting how the empowerment approach was actually applied. The empowerment approach still seems to be unfamiliar within the field of healthy nutrition.

Keywords: Empowerment; Health promotion; Healthy nutrition; Systematic review.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Diet* / economics
  • Food Supply / economics
  • Global Health* / economics
  • Health Promotion*
  • Humans
  • Malnutrition / diet therapy
  • Malnutrition / economics
  • Malnutrition / prevention & control*
  • Nutrition Policy*
  • Nutritional Status*
  • Personal Autonomy
  • Power, Psychological*
  • Socioeconomic Factors