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Primary care interventions to reduce cardiovascular risk behaviours in adolescents: a protocol for a systematic review
  1. Dagmar M Haller1,2,3,
  2. Eva Pfarrwaller1,4,
  3. Bernard Cerutti5,
  4. Jean-Michel Gaspoz6,7
  1. 1Primary Care Unit, Faculty of Medicine, University of Geneva, Geneva, Switzerland
  2. 2Adolescent and Young Adult Program, Department of Community, Primary Care and Emergency Medicine and Department of Pediatrics, Geneva University Hospitals, Geneva, Switzerland
  3. 3Department of General Practice, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia
  4. 4Geneva School Health Service, Geneva, Switzerland
  5. 5Faculty of Medicine, UDREM, University of Geneva, Geneva, Switzerland
  6. 6Faculty of Medicine, Institute of Primary Care, University of Geneva, Geneva, Switzerland
  7. 7Division of Primary Care, Department of Community, Primary Care and Emergency Medicine, Geneva University Hospitals, Geneva, Switzerland
  1. Correspondence to Dr Dagmar M Haller; dagmar.haller-hester{at}


Introduction Health-compromising behaviours are often acquired in adolescence. Alongside broader public health interventions, preventive interventions within primary care have the potential to encourage long-lasting behaviour change by tailoring messages to each individual. The aim of this study is to determine the effectiveness of primary care interventions in reducing the 3 main cardiovascular risk behaviours (smoking, low physical activity and unhealthy diet) in adolescents aged 10–19 years. It is also to identify successful initiatives and ingredients for such success that could be replicated in primary care.

Methods and analysis This systematic review of the literature and meta-analysis will follow the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) recommendations. The following databases will be searched for articles published between January 1990 and December 2016: MEDLINE, EMBASE, PsychINFO, CINAHL, Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials,, ISRCTN registry. Our search will focus on randomised and cluster randomised controlled trials of interventions conducted in primary care practices to reduce the 3 main cardiovascular risk behaviours in adolescents aged 10–19 years, compared with active (information leaflet, etc) or passive (usual care, etc) control conditions. The primary outcomes will be smoking, physical activity and diet, measured either objectively or by self-report. Secondary outcomes such as body mass index or insulin resistance will also be examined. 2 reviewers will independently screen articles, extract relevant data and assess study quality using the Cochrane risk of bias tool. A meta-analysis will be considered if the number of studies is sufficient and outcomes are sufficiently homogeneous. The Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development and Evaluation (GRADE) criteria will be used to assess the quality of the evidence.

Ethics and dissemination This systematic review will add to our knowledge on the prevention of cardiovascular disease early in life and these findings will be disseminated through peer-reviewed publications and presentations at relevant conferences.

Study registration number PROSPERO CRD42016028045.

  • general practice
  • adolescent health
  • cardiovascular risk

This is an Open Access article distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial (CC BY-NC 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited and the use is non-commercial. See:

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  • Contributors DMH conceptualised the review and drafted the manuscript. She is the guarantor. EP, BC and J-MG critically revised the protocol. EP developed the search strategy presented in the protocol, together with DMH. All authors approved the final version of the protocol for publication.

  • Funding This systematic review will be funded by a grant from the Gottfried und Julia Bangerter-Rhyner Foundation for health services research (Swiss Academy of Medical Sciences).

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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