Factors that contribute to effective nutrition education interventions in children: A systematic review

Mary W. Murimi, Ana Florencia Moyeda-Carabaza, Bong Nguyen, Sanjoy Saha, Ruhul Amin, Valentine Njike

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

48 Scopus citations


Context: Establishing healthy dietary practices at an early age is crucial, as dietary behaviors in childhood track to adulthood. Objective: The purpose of this systematic review was to identify factors associated with successful nutrition education interventions conducted in children and published between 2009 and 2016. Data Sources: Using the PRISMA (Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis) guidelines, relevant studies were identified through the PubMed, Web of Science, ScienceDirect, and ERIC (Educational Resources Information Center) databases. Study Selection: Studies published in English between 2009 and 2016 that included a nutrition education intervention among children aged 2 to 19 years were included. Review articles, abstracts, qualitative or cross-sectional studies, and studies targeting children with special nutritional needs were excluded. Data Extraction: Four authors screened and determined the quality of the studies using the GRADE (Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development, and Evaluation) system and extracted the data from the articles. Data Analysis: Forty-one studies were included: 7 targeted preschool children, 26 targeted elementary school children, and 8 targeted secondary school children. A total of 46% met their primary objectives of nutrition education intervention, while the rest either partially achieved or did not achieve their stated objectives. Results: Successful interventions targeting school children engaged parents by means of face-to-face sessions, identified specific behaviors to be modified, and assured fidelity by training teachers or recruiting trained experts to deliver the intervention. In addition, they allowed adequate dosage, with an intervention duration of at least 6 months, and used age-appropriate activities. Conclusions: Interventions with a multicomponent approach that were age appropriate and of adequate duration ( 6 months), that engaged parents, and that ensured fidelity and proper alignment between the stated objectives, the intervention, and the desired outcomes were more likely to succeed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)553-580
Number of pages28
JournalNutrition Reviews
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 1 2018


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