Pediatric Obesity Prevention and Treatment Among Hispanics: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

Sara M. St. George, Marissa A. Kobayashi, Blanca S. Noriega Esquives, Manuel A. Ocasio, Rachel G. Wagstaff, David P. Dorcius

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Introduction: The rates of pediatric obesity in the U.S. are highest among Hispanics. There is no existing meta-analysis of the effects of obesity interventions among Hispanic youth. This systematic review and meta-analysis assesses the effects of obesity prevention and treatment interventions on Hispanic youth's weight status and lifestyle behaviors. Methods: PubMed, PsycINFO, and Scopus were searched between January 1, 2000 and October 30, 2020. Interventions with ≥50% Hispanic youth aged 0–18 years were included. Using a weighted inverse-variance procedure, fixed-effects and random-effects models were run for an overall effect size on the basis of the Qtotal test statistic. Hedges’ g was calculated for outcomes of interest between baseline and postintervention separately for studies with multiple versus single conditions. Continuous and categorical moderators were also examined. Results: A total of 1,103 articles were screened, of which 117 were included in the narrative synthesis and 105 in the meta-analysis (n=49,276 youth). The overall effects for RCT/quasi-experimental studies on BMI status (g= −0.15, SE=0.03, 95% CI= −0.20, −0.10), waist circumference (g= −0.15, SE=0.10, 95% CI= −0.35, −0.05), physical activity (g=0.12, SE=0.05, 95% CI=0.03, 0.22), fruit and vegetable intake (g=0.08, SE=0.02, 95% CI=0.03, 0.12), and sugar-sweetened beverage intake (g= −0.07, SE= 0.03, 95% CI= −0.13, −0.01) were small. Intervention effects varied by participant developmental stage, SES, study setting, and lifestyle behavior target. Discussion: Beyond developing more impactful interventions to address obesity among Hispanic youth, findings highlight the need for targeted policies and more easily disseminable interventions that can spread small effects across a population for maximal public health impact.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)438-449
Number of pages12
JournalAmerican journal of preventive medicine
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2022
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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