Improving diet and physical activity to reduce population prevalence of overweight and obesity: An overview of current evidence
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Objective. The aim of this study is to provide an overview of interventions to reduce or prevent overweight or obesity and improve diet or physical activity. Methods. A review of meta-analyses and/or systematic reviews of these interventions in any setting or age group were conducted. Narrative systematic reviews were included for intervention categories with limited meta-analyses available. Summary measures including weighted mean difference, standardised mean difference, and I-squared, were examined. Results. A total of 60 meta-analyses and 23 systematic reviews met the inclusion criteria. Dietary interventions and multi-component interventions targeting overweight and obesity appeared to have the greatest effects, particularly in comparison with workplace or technology or internet-based interventions. Pharmaceutical and surgical interventions produced favourable results for specific population sub-groups (i.e. morbidly obese). Population-wide strategies such as policy interventions have not been widely analysed. The effectiveness of the interventions to assist in maintaining behaviour or weight change remains unclear. Conclusions. Various individually targeted interventions were shown to reduce body weight, although effect sizes were typically modest, and the durability of effects has been questioned. New approaches to evaluating population-based interventions, such as taxes and regulation, are recommended. Future research modelling the long-term effects of interventions across the lifespan would also be beneficial.