Parent involvement in diet or physical activity interventions to treat or prevent childhood obesity: An umbrella review

Emily J. Tomayko, Alison Tovar, Nurgul Fitzgerald, Carol L. Howe, Melanie D. Hingle, Michael P. Murphy, Henna Muzaffar, Scott B. Going, Laura Hubbs-Tait

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


Parents substantially influence children’s diet and physical activity behaviors, which consequently impact childhood obesity risk. Given this influence of parents, the objective of this umbrella review was to synthesize evidence on effects of parent involvement in diet and physical activity treatment and prevention interventions on obesity risk among children aged 3–12 years old. Ovid/MEDLINE, Elsevier/Embase, Wiley/Cochrane Library, Clarivate/Web of Science, EBSCO/CINAHL, EBSCO/PsycInfo, and were searched from their inception through January 2020. Abstract screening, full-text review, quality assessment, and data extraction were conducted independently by at least two authors. Systematic reviews and meta-analyses of diet and physical activity interventions that described parent involvement, included a comparator/control, and measured child weight/weight status as a primary outcome among children aged 3–12 years old were included. Data were extracted at the level of the systematic review/meta-analysis, and findings were narratively synthesized. Of 4158 references identified, 14 systematic reviews and/or meta-analyses (eight treatment focused and six prevention focused) were included and ranged in quality from very low to very high. Our findings support the inclusion of a parent component in both treatment and prevention interventions to improve child weight/weight status outcomes. Of note, all prevention-focused reviews included a school-based component. Evidence to define optimal parent involvement type and duration and to define the best methods of involving parents across multiple environments (e.g., home, preschool, school) was inadequate and warrants further research. PROSPERO registration: CRD42018095360.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number3227
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2021


  • Childhood obesity
  • Interventions
  • Nutrition
  • Parents
  • Physical activity
  • Prevention
  • Treatment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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