The rapid economic growth in Asia in the past few decades has contributed to the global increase in childhood obesity prevalence. Yet, little is known about obesity prevention efforts in this region. This systematic review provides an overview of child obesity prevention programmes in Asia. Searches were performed in six electronic databases. Out of 4,234 studies, 17 were included, among them 11 controlled trials (of which five were randomized). Only one study was published before 2007. Identified studies were predominantly conducted in China and Thailand and targeted primary school children in a school setting. Most studies implemented different programmes, frequently targeting behavioural modification through nutrition/health education lectures and/or physical activity sessions. Programme effects related to obesity outcome measures were mixed. Most substantial effects were found for outcomes such as improved health knowledge and/or favourable lifestyle practices. The relatively small number of relevant publications in Asia highlights the need for scientific evaluations of existing and future programmes. This will help ensure the implementation and dissemination of evidence-based approaches that have been proven to be effective in the Asian context. Targeting preschool settings and applying a comprehensive multisectoral approach may increase the effectiveness and sustainability of childhood obesity prevention programmes.
Keywords: Asia; intervention programmes; obesity prevention; youth.
© 2016 World Obesity.