Behavioural Interventions for Childhood Obesity Prevention: State of the Art in Portugal

Jessica Filipe, Cristina A. Godinho, Pedro Graça


Aim: Childhood overweight and obesity prevention is a priority area in Portugal and has been the focus of several intervention programs. This study aimed to develop a national registry of implemented interventions and their characteristics. Method: An Internet search engine (Google) and institutional websites were used to perform a search to identify healthy lifestyle promotion programs which aimed, directly or indirectly, at preventing and controlling childhood obesity in Portugal. The selection of programs to include in the present study was carried out by reading the titles and information available on the websites. Subsequently, relevant information about each project was extracted. Results: A total of 29 projects, that promoted healthy eating (n = 19), physical activity (n = 2) or both (n = 8), were identified. These were implemented between 2001 and 2015. With the exception of one project, the activities developed in the scope of the projects were described, but the rationale and behavioural change techniques used were not explicit. Only 16 projects were evaluated and had their results available online. Conclusion: Most intervention programs provide no data regarding its theoretical and empirical basis, or detailed information on the activities performed and their evaluation. Future programs should provide greater detail on the rationale and behavioural modification techniques used, as well as the evaluation of their effectiveness in behaviour change.


childhood obesity; prevention programs; healthy eating; physical activity; implementation and evaluation