AIM: Effective evidence-based interventions have an important role in obesity prevention. Our aim was to present a qualitative synthesis of setting-based health promotion interventions on obesity, from Nordic countries and the Netherlands.
METHODS: A systematic review of the literature was completed for studies in the community, schools, and worksite, with BMI as an outcome. A descriptive analysis was completed for all full-text articles meeting the inclusion criteria.
RESULTS: Thirty-three articles were identified: 7 whole of community, 3 worksite, and 23 school-based interventions. The studies were largely quasiexperimental in design (21/33), with follow-up from 4 months to 8 years. The explicit use of theory was not featured in many of the studies (20/33). No consistent direction for BMI change could be identified in the whole of community interventions (2/7 positive, 2/7 negative, and 3/7 no effect) and no effect for worksite (3/3 no effect) or many of the school-based interventions (1/23 negative, 4/23 positive, 15/23 no effect, 1/23 BMI significant increase only for control group and 3/23 no data available).
CONCLUSIONS: There is a need to prioritise interventions with study designs of high quality, theory, and a participatory approach, for optimal implementation and evaluation of obesity prevention interventions.