• Children;
  • overweight;
  • psychosocial well-being;
  • review


This review aimed to gain insight in the extent to which psychosocial effects of obesity prevention programmes have been studied, to give an overview of the methods used to measure the particular psychosocial aspects and – if possible – to quantify the effects found. Intervention studies (n = 267) covering the period 1990–October 2005 were derived from seven reviews about childhood obesity interventions. An additional search identified 2754 studies covering the period January 2005–February 2008. In total, 2901 papers (excluding 120 duplicates) were screened for inclusion. Sixty-nine papers covering 53 interventions were included and screened on measuring psychosocial variables. All original authors were contacted. Seven of the selected interventions measured psychosocial variables, five of which evaluated a net intervention effect as compared with a control condition. Only two interventions reported a statistically significant net intervention effect (a decrease in use of purging or diet pills and a decrease in peer ratings of aggression and observed verbal aggression). We conclude that a minority of childhood obesity interventions investigate the effects of their programmes on psychosocial well-being of children and adolescents. It is recommended that in the future, these programmes will be evaluated in a uniform way on a broad range of psychosocial aspects