Trend Impact Analysis (TIA) of community-based futures study for pediatric obesity in Iran

BMC Pediatr. 2023 Feb 8;23(1):66. doi: 10.1186/s12887-023-03880-y.


Background: Childhood obesity has been regarded as one of the main healthcare challenges in the last century, leading to critical health problems and reduced life expectancy. Many factors can play a role in its development or prevention. Using the Trend Impact Analysis (TIA), this study aimed to conduct a community-based futures study for pediatric obesity in Iran.

Methods: We obtained the prevalence of overweight and obesity from the database of the Ministry of Health and Medical Education. Moreover, we reviewed 21 documents, texts, and comments from three key stakeholders in Iran and prepared a list of key experts, who were stakeholders in the field of obesity prevention of childhood in different organizations. Then, we collected the expert opinions by Delphi method. Data analysis was performed using the Excel and R software.

Results: Fourteen experts participated in the first stage and nine experts in the second stage. We identified two positive drivers, including the prevalence of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) and the widespread expansion of online educational programs. Meanwhile, we identified five negative drivers as follows: (1) controlling and limiting obesogenic environments in the community, school, and family; (2) running annual compulsory anthropometry programs for students of all educational levels in health centers; (3) integrating nutrition education interventions in the curricula of all educational levels; (4) taxation of unhealthy and fast foods; and (5) preparing safe and appropriate sports environments for children and adolescents (on the streets, schools, parks, and sports clubs). Without considering the drivers, the prevalence of overweight and obesity is predicted to reach 29.10% in 2031. However, it is expected that the negative drivers can increase the prevalence trend from 23.40% in 2018 to 19.57% in 2031, the positive drivers to 32.61%, and the combination of all drivers to 23.07%.

Conclusion: It seems that measures such as the effective communication of policy makers, basic evaluation of the programs and policies related to the prevention of childhood obesity, and localization of the programs of international organizations for the prevention of obesity can greatly control the prevalence of childhood obesity.

Keywords: Children and adolescents; Futures studies; Iran; Pediatric obesity; Trend impact analysis.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • COVID-19*
  • Child
  • Humans
  • Iran / epidemiology
  • Overweight / epidemiology
  • Pediatric Obesity* / epidemiology
  • Running*
  • Schools