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Physical Activity: Family-Based Interventions

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What the Task Force Found

About The Systematic Review

The expedited Task Force finding is based on evidence from a systematic review published in 2016 (Brown, et al., 47 studies, search period through September 2015). The review included a meta-analysis and a realist synthesis. The Task Force finding is based on the 19 studies used for the meta-analysis.

The Task Force issues expedited findings to provide program planners and decision-makers with additional, effective intervention options based on systematic reviews recently published in the peer-reviewed literature. This published review was selected and evaluated by a team of specialists in systematic review methods, and in research, practice, and policy related to increasing physical activity.

This review updates and replaces the 2001 Task Force finding on Family-Based Social Support to Increase Physical Activity pdf icon [PDF - 726 kB].

Context

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends that young people ages 6–17 years participate in at least 60 minutes of physical activity daily (HHS, 2008).

Summary of Results

More details about study results are available in the Task Force Finding and Rationale Statement pdf icon [PDF - 633 kB].

The meta-analysis used as the basis for the Task Force finding included 19 studies.

  • Physical activity among children in the intervention groups increased by a small but statistically significant amount (19 studies).
  • Studies that directly measured physical activity with accelerometers, pedometers, or direct observation (16 studies) showed slightly greater increases than studies that used self-reported data (3 studies).

Summary of Economic Evidence

An economic review of this intervention was not conducted.

Applicability

Based on results from the Brown et al. systematic review, findings should be applicable to U.S. families with girls and boys ages 5–12 years.

Evidence Gaps

Additional research and evaluation are needed to answer the following questions and fill existing gaps in the evidence base. (What are evidence gaps?)

  • How effective are interventions targeted to certain groups based on demographic characteristics (i.e., single-sex interventions)?
  • Which combination of intervention components are most effective?
  • Does the duration of the intervention have an effect?

Study Characteristics

  • Included studies addressed physical activity only (8 studies) or physical activity plus additional behaviors such as dietary habits (11 studies).
  • Intervention strategies included education (19 studies), goal-setting (7 studies), reinforcement of positive health behaviors (4 studies), and role modeling (4 studies). Interventions may have included more than one strategy.
  • Included studies were conducted in the United States (11 studies), the United Kingdom (3 studies), Australia (3 studies), Singapore (1 study), and New Zealand (1 study).
  • Interventions lasted from 8 days to 12 months, and follow-up ranged from 1 to 36 months.
  • Interventions were delivered by community leaders (often selected for their cultural connection to participants), healthcare providers, researchers, or teachers.
  • Settings included schools, afterschool programs, homes, community centers, churches, universities, or research institutes.
  • Programs targeted families with healthy children aged 5–12 years.
  • Five studies included girls only, and the remaining studies included roughly equal numbers of boys and girls.
  • Study populations included children who were all considered to be healthy weight (4 studies), children who were mostly overweight or obese (3 studies), or children whose weight was not reported (12 studies).

Publications

There are no publications for this systematic review.