An increasing number of interventions targeting sedentary behaviour in children have emerged in recent years. Recently published reviews included sedentary behaviour and physical activity interventions.
This review critically summarizes evidence on the effectiveness of intervention strategies that exclusively targeted reducing sedentary time in children and adolescents.
We performed a systematic literature search in Pubmed, Embase and the Cochrane Library through November 2015. Two independent reviewers selected eligible studies, extracted relevant data and rated the methodological quality using the assessment tool for quantitative studies. We included 21 intervention studies, of which 8 studies scored moderate on methodological quality and 13 studies scored weak. Four out of eight moderate quality studies reported significant beneficial intervention effects.
Although descriptions of intervention strategies were not always clearly reported, we identified encouragement of a TV turnoff week and implementing standing desks in classrooms as promising strategies. Due to a lack of high quality studies and inconsistent findings, we found no convincing evidence for the effectiveness of existing interventions targeting solely sedentary behaviour. We recommend that future studies apply mediation analyses to explore which strategies are most effective. Furthermore, to increase the effectiveness of interventions, knowledge of children’s motives to engage in sedentary behavior is required, as well as their opinion on potentially effective intervention strategies.