Research Impact: Many researchers repeatedly find the link between physical inactivity and non-communicable diseases (NCDs). Therefore, several interventions have attempted to increase physical activity levels in multiple settings. The school is one such setting. The International Society of Physical Activity for Health have labelled the school as one of the best investments that work for physical activity. Yet, the school is also a complex environment where students, teachers, management interlink with each other daily, and it has not been clear if the effect of school based interventions components or the way they are carried out, known as implementation.
In this update review, new studies were added to the original review on the strategies used to enhance the policies or practices that target four health behaviours (PA, nutrition, tobacco, and alcohol). From this work, there were 11 more studies that fit the inclusion criteria between 2016 and 2021, to make a total of 38 studies. Based on this synthesis, we concluded that studies with implementation strategies in the schools were more likely to have the study implemented. Furthermore, in terms of the studies with implementation strategies, there were improvements in PA outcomes. This was also noticed in studies on student diet, but not with obesity or tobacco use studies. There was only one study on alcohol used. There were low certainty of the studies, therefore future school based studies should be carried out and they could be improved before concluding, with high certainty, the effectiveness of school-based programmes, at scale.
Dr Kwok Ng was part supported by the Health Board Ireland and the HSC Public Health Agency (Grant number CBES‐2018‐001) through Evidence Synthesis Ireland/Cochrane Ireland.
Wolfenden, L., McCrabb, S., Barnes, C., O’Brien, K.M., Ng, K.W., Nathan, N.K., Sutherland, R., Hodder, R.K., Tzelepis, F., Nolan, E. and Williams, C.M., 2022. Strategies for enhancing the implementation of school‐based policies or practices targeting diet, physical activity, obesity, tobacco or alcohol use. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, (8).