International Journal of Public Health

, Volume 57, Issue 4, pp 673–678 | Cite as

Does parental involvement make a difference in school-based nutrition and physical activity interventions? A systematic review of randomized controlled trials

  • Wendy Van LippeveldeEmail author
  • Maïté Verloigne
  • Ilse De Bourdeaudhuij
  • Johannes Brug
  • Mona Bjelland
  • Nanna Lien
  • Lea Maes



Parental involvement is often advocated as important for school-based interventions, however, to date, only inconsistent evidence is available. Therefore, this study aimed at determining the impact of parental involvement in school-based obesity prevention interventions in children and adolescents.


A systematic review of obesity prevention studies published from 1990 to 2010 including a comparison between school-based interventions with and without parental component was conducted. Only studies reporting effects on health behaviour-related outcomes were included.


Some positive effects of parental involvement were found on children’s behaviours and behavioural determinants. Parental modules including different strategies and addressing several home-related determinants and parenting practices concerning eating and physical activity behaviours were more likely to be effective. However, no conclusive evidence could be provided concerning the added value of parent involvement, because of the paucity of studies to test this hypothesis. The few studies that are available provide inconsistent evidence.


There is a need for more studies comparing school-based interventions with and without a parental component, and dose, strategies and content of parental components of school-based interventions should be better reported in articles.


Obesity Children Parents Health promotion Nutrition Physical activity Prevention 



This study was conducted as a part of the “EuropeaN Energy balance Research to prevent excessive weight Gain among Youth” (ENERGY)-project. The ENERGY-project is funded by the Seventh Framework Programme (CORDIS FP7) of the European Commission, HEALTH (FP7-HEALTH-2007-B), Grant agreement no. 223254.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

38_2012_335_MOESM1_ESM.doc (114 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOC 113 kb)


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Copyright information

© Swiss School of Public Health 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Wendy Van Lippevelde
    • 1
    Email author
  • Maïté Verloigne
    • 2
  • Ilse De Bourdeaudhuij
    • 2
  • Johannes Brug
    • 3
  • Mona Bjelland
    • 4
  • Nanna Lien
    • 4
  • Lea Maes
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Public HealthGhent UniversityGhentBelgium
  2. 2.Department of Movement and Sport SciencesGhent UniversityGhentBelgium
  3. 3.Department of Epidemiology and the EMGO Institute for Health and Care ResearchVU University Medical CenterAmsterdamThe Netherlands
  4. 4.Department of NutritionUniversity of OsloOsloNorway

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