A systematic review of community-based interventions for the treatment of adolescents with overweight and obesity
Adolescent obesity is a risk factor for obesity and other chronic disease in adulthood. Evidence for the effectiveness of community-based obesity treatment programs for adolescents is required to inform policy and clinical decisions. This systematic review aims to evaluate recent effective and scalable community-based weight management programs for adolescents (13–17 years) who are overweight or obese. Eight databases (Medline, Embase, PsycINFO, CINAHL, Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, Informit, and Scopus) were searched for studies published between January 2011–2 March 2017 which are scalable in a community setting and reported primary outcome measures relating to weight. Following deduplication, 10,074 records were screened by title/abstract with 31 publications describing 21 programs included in this review. Programs were heterogeneous in nature (including length, number and frequency of sessions, parent-involvement and technology involvement). Reduction in adolescent BMIz ranged from 2 to 9% post-program and from 2 to 11% after varied lengths of follow-up. Study quality varied (n = 5 weak; n = 8 moderate; n = 8 high), and findings are limited by the risk of selection and retention bias in the included studies. Factors including the effectiveness and acceptability to the target population must be considered when selecting such community programs.