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Nutrition interventions to prevent pediatric obesity can help to establish healthy habits to improve current and future health. A new umbrella review of systematic reviews describes the best available evidence on the impact of obesity prevention interventions with a nutrition component on body mass index measures, overweight/obesity prevalence and cost-effectiveness in participants 2 to 17 years old.

Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development and Evaluation, or GRADE, methods were used. The systematic reviews included searches of at least two databases, if they assessed the risk of bias of primary studies and were published between 2017 and June 2023. Database searches identified 4,776 articles, and 31 systematic reviews met inclusion criteria.

In all age groups combined, interventions with both nutrition and physical activity were effective and cost-effective in all settings combined — and in the community setting specifically. In children age 5 or younger, interventions in the home and family, community and health care settings demonstrated some efficacy, whereas in children 6 to 12 years old, school interventions were most effective. Evidence with individuals aged 13 to 17 was limited.

The certainty of evidence was generally low due to risk of bias in included studies, inconsistency and imprecision. Pediatric obesity prevention interventions with nutrition should be tailored to the developmental stage to ensure appropriateness and efficacy. Read this free article in Nutrients to learn more.

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