Do Intervention Studies to Promote Physical Activity and Reduce Sedentary Behavior in Children and Adolescents Take Sex/Gender Into Account? A Systematic Review

in Journal of Physical Activity and Health
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Background: Physical inactivity is often reported in youth and differs among boys and girls. The aim of this study is to assess sex/gender considerations in intervention studies promoting physical activity and reducing sedentary behavior in youth using a sex/gender checklist. Methods: A systematic search was conducted in August 2018 to identify all relevant controlled trials. Studies screened must have reported a quantified measure of physical activity and/or sedentary behavior, and identified participants by sex/gender at baseline. For evaluation of the sex/gender consideration, the authors used a sex/gender checklist developed by expert consensus. Results: The authors reviewed sex/gender considerations in all aspects of intervention development, implementation, and evaluation in 217 studies. Sex/gender aspects were only rudimentarily taken into account, most frequently during statistical analyses, such as stratification or interaction analysis. Conclusions: Sex/gender effects are not sufficiently reported. To develop guidelines that are more inclusive of all girls and boys, future interventions need to document sex/gender differences and similarities, and explore whether sex/gender influences different phases of intervention programs. The newly developed sex/gender checklist can hereby be used as a tool and guidance to adequately consider sex/gender in the several steps of intervention planning, implementation, and evaluation.

Schlund and Demetriou are with the Department of Sport and Health Sciences, Technical University of Munich, München, Germany. Reimers is with the Department of Sport Science and Sport, Friedrich-Alexander University of Erlangen-Nuremberg, Erlangen, Germany. Bucksch and Brindley are with the Department of Natural and Sociological Sciences, Heidelberg University of Education, Heidelberg, Germany. Schulze is with the Institute of Human Movement Science and Health, Chemnitz University of Technology, Chemnitz, Germany. Puil is with the Department of Anesthesiology, Pharmacology & Therapeutics, Faculty of Medicine, The University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada. Coen is with the School of Geography, University of Nottingham, Nottingham, United Kingdom. Phillips is with the Centre for Studies in Primary Care, School of Medicine, Queen’s University, Kingston, ON, Canada. Knapp is with the Faculty of Statistics, Technical University of Dortmund, Dortmund, Germany.

Schlund (annegret.schlund@tum.de) is corresponding author.

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