Interventions to Promote Physical Activity and Healthy Digital Media Use in Children and Adolescents: A Systematic Review

Christina Oh, Bianca Carducci, Tyler Vaivada, Zulfiqar A. Bhutta

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


OBJECTIVES: To identify effective interventions that promote healthy screen time use and reduce sedentary behavior in school-aged children and adolescents (SACA) in all settings, over the last 20 years. METHODS: Searches were conducted from 2000 until March 2021 using PubMed, Embase, Medline, PsycINFO, Ovid SP, The Cochrane Library, Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, Cochrane Methodology Register, and the WHO regional databases, including Google Scholar and reference lists of relevant articles and reviews. Randomized-controlled trials and quasi-experimental studies assessing interventions to reduce sedentary behaviors and screen time in healthy SACA (aged 5-19.9 years) globally. Data were extracted by 2 reviewers and where possible, pooled with a random-effects model. RESULTS: The review included 51 studies, of which 23 were included in meta-analyses with 16 418 children and adolescents. Nondigital randomized-controlled trials reported a small, but significant reduction of TV-specific screen time (minutes per day) (mean difference, -12.46; 95% confidence interval, -20.82 to -4.10; moderate quality of evidence) and sedentary behavior (minutes per day) (mean difference, -3.86; 95% confidence interval, -6.30 to -1.41; participants = 8920; studies = 8; P = .002; moderate quality of evidence) as compared with control groups. For quasi-experimental studies, nondigital interventions may make little or no difference on screen time (minutes per day) or sedentary behavior (minutes per day), given the high uncertainty of evidence. Most studies were conducted in a highincome country. Generalizability of results to low- and middle- income countries remain limited. CONCLUSIONS: Public health policies and programs will be necessary to reduce excessive sedentary behavior and screen time, especially in the post-coronavirus disease 2019 reality.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere2021053852I
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2022


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