Effects of involving parents and other adult caregivers in children’s diet and physical activity interventions

This new Cochrane Review (published January 2020) sought to:

  • assess effects of caregiver involvement in interventions for improving children's dietary intake and physical activity behaviors, including those intended to prevent overweight and obesity;
  • describe intervention content and behavior change techniques employed, drawing from a behavior change technique taxonomy developed and advanced by Abraham, Michie, and colleagues (Abraham 2008; Michie 2011; Michie 2013; Michie 2015); and
  • identify content and techniques related to reported outcomes when such information was reported in included studies.

It includes 23 randomised controlled trials (nearly 12,200 children) comparing dietary, physical activity, or combined dietary and physical activity interventions with a caregiver component to those without a caregiver component. All but two studies were conducted in high-income countries. 

The review authors found that adding a parent or caregiver component to dietary or physical activity interventions (including those intended to prevent obesity) may make little or no difference to children's dietary intake (low-quality evidence) or physical activity levels (low and moderate-quality evidence), but probably slightly reduces children's sugar-sweetened beverage intake by end of intervention (moderate-quality evidence). 

Read the full review on the Cochrane Library