To facilitate the translation of research evidence into practice, policy makers and practitioners require practice-relevant information such as the effectiveness of interventions delivered in specific settings, by various personnel, using various intervention modalities, and descriptions of intervention costs or adverse outcomes. The aim of this study was to review the relevance of information reported in systematic reviews of child obesity interventions in terms of these requirements. A systematic search was conducted for systematic reviews of child obesity interventions published in English between 1990 and 2008. A total of 3150 citations were examined. Of the 44 eligible reviews, 16 examined prevention interventions, 18 examined treatment interventions, and 10 examined both prevention and treatment interventions. Less than 50% of prevention and treatment reviews reported the effect of interventions conducted in specific settings, the effect of interventions conducted by various personnel and the effect of those delivered via various intervention modalities. Similarly, few (4–15%) reviews reported cost or adverse event outcomes. Existing systematic reviews of childhood obesity interventions provide limited practice-relevant information. The potential for benefit from the translation of evidence into practice is therefore limited. Involving end users in systematic review development may improve the relevance of outcomes reported in systematic reviews.
This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Wolfenden, L., Wiggers, J., Tursan d'Espaignet, E. and Bell, A. C. (2010), How useful are systematic reviews of child obesity interventions?. Obesity Reviews, 11: 159–165, which has been published in final form at http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-789X.2009.00637.x. This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Self-Archiving.