Impact of school-based health promotion interventions aimed at different behavioral domains

Given that lifestyles have similar determinants and that school-based interventions are typically targeted at all the risks that affect adolescents, the aim of this systematic review was to summarize the characteristics and effects of school-based interventions acting on different behavioral domains of adolescent health promotion. The review process was conducted by two independent reviewers who searched PubMed, Scopus, PsycINFO, and ERIC databases for experimental or observational studies with at least two measures of results published from 2007 to 2011, as the research information available doubles every 5 years. Methodological quality was assessed with a standardized tool. Information was extracted from 35 studies aiming to prevent risk behaviors and promote healthy nutrition, physical activity, and mental and holistic health. Activities were based on theoretical models and were classified into interactive lessons, peer mediation, environmental changes, parents’ and community activities, and tailored messages by computer-assisted training or other resources, ordinarily including several components. In some cases, the review identified some moderate to large, short- and long-term effects on behavioral and intermediate variable.

This exhaustive review found that well-implemented interventions can encourage adolescent health. These findings are consistent with recent reviews. Implications for practice, public health, and research are discussed.