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Protocol for systematic reviews of determinants/correlates of obesity related dietary and physical activity behaviours in young children (preschool 0-6yrs) : evidence mapping and syntheses.

Lakshman, R. and Paes, V. and Hesketh, H. and O’Malley, C. and Moore, H. and Ong, K. and Griffin, S. and Van Sluijs, E. and Summerbell, C. (2013) 'Protocol for systematic reviews of determinants/correlates of obesity related dietary and physical activity behaviours in young children (preschool 0-6yrs) : evidence mapping and syntheses.', Systematic reviews., 2 (1). p. 28.


Background: The aim of these reviews is to inform the design and content of interventions to reduce obesity in young children. The behaviors that are associated with obesity/overweight have been studied extensively; however, the factors associated with these behaviors in young children (0 to 6 years) have not been systematically reviewed. Over the past few years the focus of obesity prevention has shifted to preschool children because of the high prevalence of obesity at school entry and recognition that habits formed in early life could track into adulthood. In order to develop effective interventions and change behavior, it is important to understand the factors that are associated with those behaviors. For example, we need to understand whether it would be more important to target the family, childcare settings or the wider environment and identify the most effective way of changing these energy balance related behaviors. Methods/Design: Quantitative (intervention and observational) and qualitative literature on determinants/correlates of fruit and vegetable intake, sugar sweetened beverage and other unhealthy diet intake, and physical activity and sedentary behaviors in young children will be systematically identified, mapped and reviewed. A common search strategy (no language or period restrictions) will be used to identify papers from eight electronic databases and this will be supplemented by hand-searching. Next, studies in developed countries that examine the factors associated with these behaviors in children aged 0 to 6 years (at baseline) will be screened and mapped descriptively followed by in-depth data extraction, quality assessment and synthesis. Data from quantitative studies will be summarized using either forest plots or harvest plots and narrative synthesis, and qualitative studies using thematic analysis. Qualitative evidence will be integrated with the quantitative evidence, using a parallel synthesis approach, to provide a deeper understanding of effective strategies to influence these energy balance related behaviors. Discussion: In addition to updating and mapping current research, these reviews will be the first to comprehensively synthesize and integrate both the quantitative and qualitative evidence pertaining to determinants/correlates/barriers/facilitators of obesity related behaviors in this young age group (0 to 6 years) with the aim of informing future interventions.

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Publisher statement:This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Date accepted:No date available
Date deposited:14 October 2015
Date of first online publication:May 2013
Date first made open access:No date available

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