"Whole-of-Community" Obesity Prevention: A Review of Challenges and Opportunities in Multilevel, Multicomponent Interventions

Ella Ewart-Pierce, María José Mejía Ruiz, Joel Gittelsohn

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


The causes of obesity worldwide are complex and multilevel, including changing food environments, physical activity levels, policies, and food production systems. This intricate context requires multilevel and multicomponent (MLMC) interventions to improve health outcomes. We conducted a literature review of MLMC interventions for obesity prevention and mitigation; 14 studies meeting search criteria were identified. We found examples of successes in preventing obesity, reducing overweight, improving healthful behaviors, and enhancing some psychosocial indicators. Of eight studies that reported health and behavioral results, five showed no significant impact and three showed reductions in obesity. Four studies showed significant improvement in dietary behavior, and five reported significant desirable effects in physical activity or screen time. Five studies reported psychosocial impacts, and three of these showed significant improvements. MLMC approaches show promising results, particularly when they are able to integrate components at the policy, community, and interpersonal levels.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)361-374
Number of pages14
JournalCurrent obesity reports
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1 2016


  • Adult
  • Child
  • Community-based interventions
  • Health behavior
  • Health promotion
  • Lifestyle
  • Minority populations
  • Multicomponent
  • Multilevel
  • Obesity
  • Prevention
  • Research design
  • Review

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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