Engaging parents in school-based nutrition education interventions to encourage healthy eating among children in low-income populations
: a systematic review and meta-analyses

  • Lyndall Warton

    Student thesis: Masters by Research - CDU


    Background: As the availability of affordable low-nutrient processed food becomes more readily available, so has the global incidence of childhood overweight and obesity. In Australia approximately one in four Australian children are overweight or obese. A health prevention approach including early intervention and family involvement is important to reduce this growing frequency. 

    Aim: To assess the effectiveness of school-based interventions including parental engagement on diet and health related outcomes in children and their families in low-income populations through a systematic review and meta-analyses. 

    Method: A search of health, psychology and education databases (from inception until April 2018) was combined with a pearling technique. Eligible studies were randomised controlled trials (RCTs), controlled clinical trials (CCTs) and controlled before-and-after studies (CBAs) including children aged 5 to 12 years old in school-based preventative nutrition interventions with a combined parent component targeted at low-income populations. The impacts of the interventions on body mass index (BMI) to prevent childhood obesity were assessed by pooling results from each study using a random effects meta-analysis. Parent engagement and behaviour change techniques were also assessed. 

    Results: Of 5,739 articles retrieved, 48 studies were included. Ten studies were nutrition-only interventions, and 38 were combined nutrition and physical activity interventions. Meta-analyses of eighteen studies demonstrated statistically significant differences between intervention and control groups for body mass index. This revealed an overall modest reduction in BMI of -0.27 (95%CI -0.62, 0.07) kg/m2 with a large amount of between studies’ results heterogeneity. An overall statistically significant reduction in BMI Z-score of -0.05 (95%CI -0.10, -0.01) was observed with a large amount of heterogeneity.

    Conclusion: This systematic review provides evidence on the effectiveness of school-based dietary and physical activity interventions which include parental engagement in preventing childhood obesity in low-income populations. Those school-based studies that have multi-component interventions involving the home and community are important.
    Date of AwardMar 2019
    Original languageEnglish
    SupervisorJulie Brimblecombe (Supervisor)

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