Interventions for treating children and adolescents with overweight and obesity: an overview of Cochrane reviews

Louisa J. Ells, Karen Rees, Tamara Brown, Emma Mead, Lena Al-Khudairy, Liane Azevedo, Grant J. McGeechan, Louise Baur, Emma Loveman, Heather Clements, Pura Rayco-Solon, Nathalie Farpour-Lambert, Alessandro Demaio

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

150 Citations (Scopus)


Children and adolescents with overweight and obesity are a global health concern. This is an integrative overview of six Cochrane systematic reviews, providing an up-to-date synthesis of the evidence examining interventions for the treatment of children and adolescents with overweight or obesity. The data extraction and quality assessments for each review were conducted by one author and checked by a second. The six high quality reviews provide evidence on the effectiveness of behaviour changing interventions conducted in children <6 years (7 trials), 6–11 years (70 trials), adolescents 12–17 years (44 trials) and interventions that target only parents of children aged 5–11 years (20 trials); in addition to interventions examining surgery (1 trial) and drugs (21 trials). Most of the evidence was derived from high-income countries and published in the last two decades. Collectively, the evidence suggests that multi-component behaviour changing interventions may be beneficial in achieving small reductions in body weight status in children of all ages, with low adverse event occurrence were reported. More research is required to understand which specific intervention components are most effective and in whom, and how best to maintain intervention effects. Evidence from surgical and drug interventions was too limited to make inferences about use and safety, and adverse events were a serious consideration.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1823-1833
Number of pages11
JournalInternational Journal of Obesity
Issue number11
Early online date9 Oct 2018
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2018
Externally publishedYes


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