sive search strategy was designed in consultation with librarians at the George E. Brown Jr. Library of the National Academies. Search terms incorporated relevant MeSH (Medical Subject Headings) terms as well as terms from the EMBASE thesaurus. To maximize retrieval, the search strategy incorporated synonymous terms on the topics of obesity, overweight, or body weight; dietary patterns (including breastfeeding); and physical activity (including exercise, recreation, physical fitness, or physical education and training). The searches were limited to English language and targeted to retrieve citations related to infants, children, or youth (less than 18 years of age). The searches were not limited by date of publication. This broad search resulted in over 40,000 citations. Subsequent analysis of the resulting database focused on resources published since 1994 (approximately 19,000 citations).
As the study progressed, additional focused searches were conducted. Topics of these searches included prevention of obesity in adults (primarily meta-analyses and reviews); prevention interventions focused on co-morbidities of obesity in children (i.e., diabetes, hypertension); behaviorally focused interventions; and statistical information on trends in obesity and physical activity. Additional references were identified by reviewing the reference lists found in major review articles, key reports, prominent websites, and relevant textbooks. Committee members, workshop presenters, consultants, and IOM staff also supplied references.
The committee maintained the reference list in a searchable database that was indexed to allow searches by keywords, staff annotations, type of literature (e.g., literature review), or other criteria. Additionally, an Internet-based site was developed to facilitate the committee’s access to subject bibliographies that were developed from the search as well as to full text of some of the key resources. After indexing the citations, subject bibliographies were developed for the committee on topics including definition and measurement of childhood obesity and overweight; correlates and determinants (breastfeeding, dietary patterns, physical activity, television viewing, etc.); economic issues; etiology/epidemiology; ethnology and disparities; prevention interventions (family-based, school-based, community-based, etc.); and prevalence. Bibliographies were updated throughout the study and committee members requested the full text of journal articles and other resources as needed for their information and analysis.