Key Characteristics of Public Health Interventions Aimed at Increasing Whole Grain Intake: A Systematic Review

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To identify characteristics of successful public health interventions aimed at increasing whole grain consumption.


The Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-analyses framework, guided by higher-quality interventions with greatest effect size, was adopted to conduct a systematic literature review.


Of 8,500 initial records, only 8 interventions with demonstrated reach (up to national populations) and effectiveness (increasing consumption 8–27 g/d) were eligible for synthesis. Their characteristics included multiple stakeholder involvement, specified target intakes in dietary guidelines, manufacturer codes of practice, product reformulation, evidence-based educational resources, social media, and community events with tasting and preparation opportunities. Empowerment of food service providers was also linked to success.

Conclusions and Implications

Successful interventions require multifaceted strategies across multiple aspects of the food system, underpinned by multiple stakeholder partnerships. Uniform capture of interventions using an online, searchable, public domain resource may provide a strategy to enable health professionals globally to plan local interventions across cultural settings, drawing on best practice guidelines developed from interventions with demonstrated reach and effectiveness.

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