The effectiveness of sedentary behaviour interventions for reducing body mass index in children and adolescents: systematic review and meta‐analysis

Liane B. Azevedo, Jonathan Ling, Istvan Soos, Shannon Robalino, Louisa Ells

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

18 Citations (Scopus)


Intervention studies have been undertaken to reduce sedentary behaviour (SB) and thereby potentially ameliorate unhealthy weight gain in children and adolescents. We synthesised evidence and quantified the effects of SB interventions (single or multiple components) on body mass index (BMI) or BMI z-score in this population. Publications up to March 2015 were located through electronic searches. Inclusion criteria were interventions targeting SB in children that had a control group and objective measures of weight and height. Mean change in BMI or BMI z-score from baseline to post-intervention were quantified for intervention and control groups and meta-analyzed using a random effects model. The pooled mean reduction in BMI and BMI z-score was significant but very small (standardized mean difference=-0.060, 95% confidence interval: -0.098 to -0.022). However, the pooled estimate was substantially greater for an overweight or obese population (standardized mean difference=-0.255, 95% confidence interval: -0.400 to -0.109). Multicomponent interventions (SB and other behaviours) delivered to children from 5 to 12years old in a non-educational setting appear to favour BMI reduction. In summary, SB interventions are associated with very small improvement in BMI in mixed-weight populations. However, SB interventions should be part of multicomponent interventions for treating obese children.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)623-635
Number of pages13
JournalObesity Reviews
Issue number7
Early online date21 Apr 2016
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2016
Externally publishedYes


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