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Are interventions for low-income groups effective in changing healthy eating, physical activity and smoking behaviours? A systematic review and meta-analysis

Bull, Eleanor R and Dombrowski, Stephan U and McCleary, Nicola and Johnston, Marie (2014) Are interventions for low-income groups effective in changing healthy eating, physical activity and smoking behaviours? A systematic review and meta-analysis. BMJ Open, 4 (11). ISSN 2044-6055

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Abstract

Objective To conduct a systematic review and meta-analysis examining the effectiveness of behavioural interventions targeting diet, physical activity or smoking in low-income adults. Design Systematic review with random effects meta-analyses. Studies before 2006 were identified from a previously published systematic review (searching 1995–2006) with similar but broader inclusion criteria (including non-randomised controlled trials (RCTs)). Studies from 2006 to 2014 were identified from eight electronic databases using a similar search strategy. Data sources MEDLINE, EMBASE, PsycINFO, ASSIA, CINAHL, Cochrane Controlled Trials, Cochrane Systematic Review and DARE. Eligibility criteria for selecting studies RCTs and cluster RCTs published from 1995 to 2014; interventions targeting dietary, physical activity and smoking; low-income adults; reporting of behavioural outcomes. Main outcome measures Dietary, physical activity and smoking cessation behaviours. Results 35 studies containing 45 interventions with 17 000 participants met inclusion criteria. At postintervention, effects were positive but small for diet (standardised mean difference (SMD) 0.22, 95% CI 0.14 to 0.29), physical activity (SMD 0.21, 95% CI 0.06 to 0.36) and smoking (relative risk (RR) of 1.59, 95% CI 1.34 to 1.89). Studies reporting follow-up results suggested that effects were maintained over time for diet (SMD 0.16, 95% CI 0.08 to 0.25) but not physical activity (SMD 0.17, 95% CI −0.02 to 0.37) or smoking (RR 1.11, 95% CI 0.93 to 1.34). Conclusions Behaviour change interventions for low-income groups had small positive effects on healthy eating, physical activity and smoking. Further work is needed to improve the effectiveness of behaviour change interventions for deprived populations.

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