Tackling childhood obesity within schools: A review of interventions

Janet Wordley

Professor Rachael Dixey

The aim of this review is to enable the UAE education sector and policy makers to think about how they could incorporate schools-based interventions into the wider strategy to tackle childhood obesity.

Involving schools in tackling obesity would seem a logical and useful way forward. However, school-basedwork can be seen against a backdrop where:

“Hundreds of interventions to the combat obesity epidemic are currently being introduced worldwide, but there are significant gaps in the evidence base for such interventions and few have been evaluated in a way that enables any definitive conclusion to be drawn about their effectiveness.” (Thirlaway and Upton 2009 p82)

There are no simple ways forward, and there is no consensus among the public health community about the best ways to tackle the obesity epidemic. This review will introduce promising interventions, and also try to make sense of some of the issues in evaluating interventions to tackle obesity within schools. The lessons for the UAE are not spelt out, as this will be left to educationalists and policy makers within country.