Reduction of Childhood Obesity via the Web-Based Programs in School-Aged Children

Sunday, 27 July 2014: 8:50 AM

Natalya Fazylova, DNP, FNP-BC
Health Science Department, LaGuardia Community College, Rego-Park, NY



Purpose:  This review   aimed to to identify the current   evidence on the effectiveness of web-based programs on the reduction of childhood obesity.

Methods: A three-step search strategy and search terms were formulated based on the selection criteria. This review considered studies that included school age children regardless of gender, ethnicity, or national origin from 4-18 years of age. The outcomes measured in this review include overweight and obesity among school aged children as measured by valid and reliable measurements including but not limited to BMI, body weight, and/or waist circumference.  Independent critical appraisals on selected studies were performed using JBI CReMS and MASTARI for data extraction.

Results: A total of 12 randomized controlled studies were included in the review.   A reduction in BMI, BMI-z, and weight and/or waist circumference can occur when implementing web-based interventions in school aged children.  However, studies reviewed point to other variables playing a role in these outcomes such as parental involvement, face-to-face interactions, culturally tailored programs, and reinforcement of information to improve adherence. 

Discussion: This review supports the development of web-based technology for the implementation of weight reduction programs as a method to reach school-aged children. Evidence also suggests that these web-based programs would produce better results in school-aged obese children with parental involvement and when culturally sensitive.   Furthermore, evidence suggests that these web-based programs would produce better results in school-aged childhood obesity if done for a longer period of time.

Conclusion: As identified by the reviewers, most of the RCT that included other variables such as dietary, physical exercise, parental involvement and culturally tailored program had significant changes in adherence to the program, decrease in BMI/waist circumferences/body fat, and increased in behavioral changes was statistically significant. Therefore, future studies which will incorporate parental involvement, cultural sensitive programs, larger sample size, and longer periods of studies beyond 16 weeks may be needed to establish the full effect of web-based childhood obesity reduction.