Methodological Quality of Systematic Reviews on Bodyweight Management Strategies for Children and Adolescents

Robin Sze Tak Ho, King Yin Chui, Wendy Yajun Huang, Stephen Heung Sang Wong*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review


    INTRODUCTION: Systematic reviews (SRs) synthesize empirical evidence from randomized controlled trials, to answer a research question. Methodological flaws in SRs can, however, reduce the trustworthiness of conclusions, subsequently hindering decision making. We aimed to appraise the methodological quality of existing SRs on bodyweight management strategies for children and adolescents. METHODS: We searched Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, MEDLINE, EMBASE, and SPORTDiscus. A MeaSurement Tool to Assess systematic Reviews (AMSTAR 2) was used to evaluate the methodological quality of SRs including 16 individual AMSTAR 2 domains and the total AMSTAR score. Association between bibliographical characteristics and total AMSTAR score of SRs was explored using multiple linear regression analysis. RESULTS: Three critical domain-specific items of AMSTAR 2 among the included SRs showed unsatisfactory results including (i) justifying deviation from their SR protocols, (ii) using comprehensive literature search strategies, and (iii) giving details of both included and excluded studies. "More recent publication year journal," "higher impact factor of the journal," and "greater number of review authors" were associated with better methodological quality of the included SRs. CONCLUSIONS: Future SRs' authors in the field of bodyweight management strategies for children and adolescents should improve the following criteria: (i) justify deviations from SR protocol, (ii) explain selection of the included study designs, (iii) use comprehensive literature search strategy, (iv) give details for both included and excluded studies, (v) report funding sources among included studies, and (vi) assess the potential impact of risk of bias among the included studies on meta-analysis results.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)892-899
    Number of pages8
    JournalMedicine and Science in Sports and Exercise
    Issue number5
    Early online date11 Jan 2023
    Publication statusPublished - May 2023

    Scopus Subject Areas

    • Medicine(all)
    • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
    • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine

    User-Defined Keywords

    • Amstar
    • Appraisal
    • Bodyweight Management
    • Childhood Obesity Prevention
    • Evaluation
    • Methodological Quality
    • Systematic Review


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