Effectiveness of social marketing strategies to reduce youth obesity in European school-based interventions: a systematic review and meta-analysis

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Context: The use of social marketing to modify lifestyle choices could be helpful in reducing youth obesity. Some or all of the 8 domains of the National Social Marketing Centre’s social marketing benchmark criteria (SMBC) are often used but not always defined in intervention studies. Objective: The aim of this review is to assess the effectiveness of European school-based interventions to prevent obesity relative to the inclusion of SMBC domains in the intervention. Data Sources: The PubMed, Cochrane, and ERIC databases were used. Study Selection: Nonrandomized and randomized controlled trials conducted from 1990 to April 2014 in participants aged 5 to 17 years were included. Data Extraction: After the study selection, the 8 domains of the SMBC were assessed in each included study. Results: Thirty-eight publications were included in the systematic review. For the meta-analysis, randomized controlled trials (RCTs) reporting body mass index or prevalence of overweight and obesity were considered. Eighteen RCTs with a total of 8681 participants included at least 5 SMBC. The meta-analysis showed a small standardized mean difference in body mass index of −0.25 (95%CI, −0.45 to −0.04) and a prevalence of overweight and obesity odds ratio of 0.72 (95%CI, 0.5–0.97). Conclusion: Current evidence indicates that the inclusion of at least 5 SMBC domains in school-based interventions could benefit efforts to prevent obesity in young people.

PROSPERO registration number: CRD42014007297.

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