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Environmental interventions to promote healthier eating and physical activity behaviours in institutions: a systematic review

  • Anneliese M Shaw (a1) (a2), Stephen A Wootton (a2) (a3), Joanne L Fallowfield (a1), Adrian J Allsopp (a1) and Emma L Parsons (a2) (a3)...



The present review evaluated the effectiveness of environmental-based interventions aimed at improving the dietary and physical activity behaviours and body composition indices of adults in institutions.


A systematic review was conducted. Electronic databases (MEDLINE, Embase, PsycINFO, CINAHL, The Cochrane Library, Web of Science, ProQuest Dissertation and Theses, Scopus and Athena) were searched for relevant articles published between database inception and October 2017. Searching, selecting and reporting were undertaken according to the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) statement.


Military establishments and maritime workplaces.


Adults in institutions, aged 18–45 years.


A total of 27842 articles were screened for eligibility, nine studies (reported in eleven articles) were included in the review. Five studies used multilevel strategies and four used environmental strategies only. Duration of follow-up ranged from 3 weeks to 10 years. Eight of the studies reported significant positive effects on dietary behaviours, but effect sizes varied. The study that targeted physical activity had no effect on activity levels but did have a significant positive effect on physical fitness. No evidence was identified that the studies resulted in improvements in body composition indices.


The evidence base appears to be in favour of implementing environmental interventions in institutions to improve the dietary behaviours of adults. However, due to the small number of studies included in the review, and the variable methodological quality of the studies and intervention reporting, further well-designed evaluation studies are required.


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