Early training in tackling patient obesity: A systematic review of nurse education

A. Fillingham, S. Peters, A. Chisholm, J. Hart

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Objectives: This systematic review aims to identify studies that have assessed educational interventions in undergraduate nurse training regarding obesity, and to investigate the interventions' effectiveness. Background: Obesity is a prominent global issue and nurses have an increased role in weight management with patients. The literature has identified various theory-based behaviour change techniques that successfully assist weight management in patients. Thus, training nurses in obesity-related behaviour change techniques is appropriate in preparing them for their future professional role. However, effectiveness of these educational interventions has not yet been assessed. Methods: The Centre for Reviews and Dissemination guidelines informed this systematic review. Four databases were systematically searched and articles were assessed against inclusion criteria. Data extraction and quality appraisal forms were developed and completed to identify salient features within the articles. Results: Eight studies met inclusion criteria. Only two included both baseline and outcome measures, one of which was a randomised controlled trial. Additionally, only one study included an explicitly identified behaviour change technique. Interventions were delivered through a range of methods, however, quality appraisal indicated that all of the studies had poor methodologies and had high risks of bias. Conclusions: Studies in this area of research are sparse and are not methodologically robust. Therefore, it is not possible to identify effective educational interventions for nursing students on weight management. Implications: More robust research is needed to investigate how nurses can be trained to facilitate weight management. Greater transparency of intervention descriptions, particularly around what behaviour change techniques were taught, would allow for replication and appropriate evaluation. Until then, it is not known if current teaching adequately equips nurses to manage obese and overweight patients. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)396-404
    Number of pages8
    JournalNurse Education Today
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - Mar 2014


    • Behaviour change
    • Education
    • Interventions
    • Obesity
    • Systematic review
    • Undergraduate nurses


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