Several dietary interventions have been conducted to prevent/reduce childhood obesity, but most of them are known to have failed in tackling the obesity epidemic. This study aimed to review the existing literature on dietary interventions for the prevention of childhood obesity and their effectiveness. A literature search was conducted using PubMed Central®
. Only articles published between 2009 and 2021, written in English, conducted in humans, and including children and/or adolescents (<18 years old) were considered. The majority of studies were school-based interventions, with some addressing the whole community, and including some interventions in the food sector (e.g., taxation of high fat/sugar foods, front-of-pack labelling) and through mass media (e.g., restrictions on food advertising for children) that directly or indirectly could help to manage childhood obesity. Most of the programs/interventions conducted focus mainly on person-based educational approaches, such as nutrition/diet education sessions, allied to the promotion of physical activity and lifestyles to students, parents, and school staff, and less on environmental changes to offer healthier food choices. Only a few trials have focused on capacity building and macro-policy changes, such as the adaptation of the built environment of the school, serving smaller portion sizes, and increasing the availability and accessibility of healthy foods and water in schools, and restricting the access to vending machines, for example. Overall, most of the intervention studies showed no consistent effects on changing the body mass index of children; they have only reported small weight reductions, clinically irrelevant, or no effects at all. Little is known about the sustainability of interventions over time.
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