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Interventions for prevention of overweight in the community, at school, at work and in healthcare settings - The effects inventoried

Interventies ter preventie van overgewicht in de wijk, op school, op het werk en in de zorg - Een verkennende studie naar de effecten

Synopsis

A health policy that aims at increasing physical activity and decreasing the intake of energy contributes to the prevention of overweight. In general, the long-term effects of interventions targeted at body weight, physical activity and/or energy intake are unknown. This report describes a literature study done by the RIVM under commission of the Dutch Ministry of Health on the effects of interventions in the community, at school, at work and in the health care system. We found more than 70 reviews of international interventions, summarizing the results of more than hundred interventions. Information on the long-term effects of interventions at school and work was limited and inconsistent, but we could conclude about the effects of interventions in the community and in the health care system. The community project called 'Hartslag-Limburg' (Heartbeat Limburg) yielded the following for the intervention community, when compared to a control community after five years: an average decrease in body weight of 0.2 kg, a rise in physical activity of 1.6 hours/week and a decrease in energy intake of 51 kcal per day. The intervention group in the SLIM project, consisting of patients with impaired glucose tolerance, had a lower body weight (-2.4 kg) and a better condition than the control group after 2 years. The results of more than 30 recent Dutch projects have not yet been published, but the above-mentioned results are in line with comparable international projects. The international literature led us to the conclusion that an intensive approach would be needed to establish long-term positive effects. Theoretically, the number of both overweight and inactive people could be reduced by 1 to 3 percent points when interventions similar to Hartslag-Limburg and SLIM are targeted at 30 to 90% of the Dutch population.
 

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