Involvement of children and young people in development of an evidence synthesis framework for what interventions best prevent childhood obesity
2Bristol Young People’s Advisory Group, UK
3Population Health Sciences, Bristol Medical School; ARC West; NIHR Bristol Biomedical Research Centre (BRC); University of Bristol, UK
4Department of Sport and Exercise Science, Durham University, UK
Background:We conducted systematic reviews and meta-analyses of over 250 randomized trials of interventions to prevent obesity in children aged 5 to 18 years. While we found that interventions targeting diet, activity and both combined may have small beneficial average effects on BMI, considerable heterogeneity arose from different participant and intervention characteristics.
To explore how intervention characteristics, and their synergistic effect, impacted on the intervention effectiveness in preventing obesity, we aimed to reanalyse the results of the studies. To achieve this, we developed a novel analytic framework that addresses key intervention characteristics that are likely to explain differential effects. As children are the direct target of most of the interventions in our review, we decided to ask them what features they think an intervention should have to work best at achieving its goal.
Objectives:To describe the beneficial role that children and young people played in the development and implementation of our analytic framework.
Methods:A literature review informed our preliminary analytic framework, which we discussed with our project advisory group (also including two young people aged 15+). We then organised two workshops with children and young people (in one instance also with their parents) in which we discussed our framework aims and asked the participants for advice on what intervention characteristics may impact its effectiveness. The coding of the trials according to the finalised framework is being undertaken in part by young people themselves.
Results: By asking our panels of children and young people the simple question “What should we do to prevent childhood obesity?” it emerged that interventions they thought would be best received were fun, casual, enjoyable, interesting and interactive. Additionally, our panel suggested that the credibility of the person delivering the intervention and the opportunity to choose activities (e.g. their favourite sport) are also important features.
Conclusions: Working with children and young people in both the planning and conduct of our work has been a scientifically useful and personally stimulating experience.
Patient, public and/or healthcare consumer involvement: Children and young people were involved in the development of the analytic framework.