Effectiveness of interventions targeting physical activity, nutrition and healthy weight for university and college students: A systematic review and meta-analysis

Ronald C. Plotnikoff, Sarah A. Costigan, Rebecca L. Williams, Melinda J. Hutchesson, Sarah G. Kennedy, Sara L. Robards, Jennifer Allen, Clare E. Collins, Robin Callister, John Germov

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

    145 Citations (Scopus)
    93 Downloads (Pure)

    Abstract

    To examine the effectiveness of interventions aimed at improving physical activity, diet, and/or weight-related behaviors amongst university/college students. Five online databases were searched (January 1970 to April 2014). Experimental study designs were eligible for inclusion. Data extraction was performed by one reviewer using a standardized form developed by the researchers and checked by a second reviewer. Data were described in a narrative synthesis and meta-analyses were conducted when appropriate. Study quality was also established. Forty-one studies were included; of these, 34 reported significant improvements in one of the key outcomes. Of the studies examining physical activity 18/29 yielded significant results, with meta-analysis demonstrating significant increases in moderate physical activity in intervention groups compared to control. Of the studies examining nutrition, 12/24 reported significantly improved outcomes; only 4/12 assessing weight loss outcomes found significant weight reduction. This appears to be the first systematic review of physical activity, diet and weight loss interventions targeting university and college students. Tertiary institutions are appropriate settings for implementing and evaluating lifestyle interventions, however more research is needed to improve such strategies.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number45
    Pages (from-to)1-10
    Number of pages10
    JournalInternational Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity
    Volume12
    Issue number1
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 01 Apr 2015

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