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Evidence-Based Interventions for Schools

Interventions identified in published systematic reviews, syntheses, or meta-analyses as producing significant, positive health or behavioral outcomes and/or intermediate policy, environmental, or economic impacts based on a structured review of published high-quality, peer-reviewed studies and evaluation reports.

  • Intervention type: Strategies to Change the Environment
    Source: The Cochrane Collaboration
    Change type: Individual; Policy, Systems, and Environmental (PSE)
    Description: Targeting youth aged 6-12 years of age with school-based programs to encourage healthy eating, physical activity, and body image can help reduce the levels of obesity. Findings show obesity prevention is worth the investment. Researchers recommend strategies focusing on environmental approaches to improving physical activity levels and dietary habits, as opposed to strategies solely aimed at individual behavior change. Examples include:
    • Increase opportunities for physical activity and development of fundamental movement skills during the school week
    • Improve nutritional quality of food supplied in schools
    • Give more attention to parent support and home activities that encourage children to be more active, eat more nutritious foods, and spend less time in screen-based activities
  • Intervention type: School-based Programs to Prevent and Control Obesity
    Source: U.S. Community Preventive Services Task Force
    Change type: Individual
    Description: There is insufficient evidence to determine the effectiveness of school-based programs to prevent and/or reduce overweight and obesity among children and adolescents because interventions vary widely and the reported outcomes are not comparable. Additional research is needed to determine whether these interventions are effective. Until better evidence exists for school-based obesity intervention programs, none of these programs can be defined as evidence-based.
  • Intervention type: School-Based Programs Promoting Good Nutrition
    Source: U.S. Community Preventive Services Task Force
    Change type: Individual
    Description: Finds insufficient evidence to determine the effectiveness of multicomponent school-based nutrition interventions in increasing fruit and vegetable intake and decreasing fat and saturated fat intake among school-age children.