Informing obesity prevention interventions with evidence is challenging in a context where hundreds of systematic reviews (SRs) exist, with findings across heterogeneous interventions, populations, methods of measurement and outcomes. Further, information on implementation, sustainability, equity and harms is often unavailable in SRs due to limitations in primary research, which presents barriers to knowledge translation and effective implementation.
Since publication of the most recent Cochrane review of interventions for preventing obesity in children, a large body of relevant evidence has accumulated, including several new SRs. To ensure that any new evidence generated reflects recent developments in the field, meets stakeholders’ needs, and does not duplicate existing SRs, an overview of SRs was developed. The primary aim of the overview was to identify gaps in the methodology and scope of existing SRs that could be addressed in the update of the Cochrane Review ‘Interventions for preventing obesity in children’.
Three electronic databases were searched (DARE, Health evidence and Cochrane Library) to identify relevant SRs published between 2010 and 2014. Two reviewers conducted screening, extracted data and assessed the methodological quality of SRs using the revised version of the AMSTAR tool. To highlight gaps as well as areas of duplication, SRs were mapped according to population, intervention, outcome characteristics, overall quality and the extent that equity and public health impact were considered within reviews.
This overview of obesity prevention SRs will produce implications relevant and useful to policy and practice decision-making. Process, methods and results of this overview will be presented, highlighting gaps and duplication in the scope and methodology of existing SRs and the spectrum of quality. In addition to reconciling the evidence from the range of existing SRs, this presentation will provide recommendations for future obesity prevention research and reviews, as well as implications for policy and practice.