Date Presented 04/22/2023

This review examined utilization of primary prevention interventions for adult populations at risk of obesity and highlights that OT’s promotion of healthy routines and habits is well aligned to address such interventions.

Primary Author and Speaker: Chloe Muntefering

Contributing Authors: Kelsey Johnson, McKenzie Fitzpatrick, Anna Englund, Beth Fields

PURPOSE: Seminal occupational therapy position papers articulate the profession’s role in addressing health promotion. Yet, research evidence in this area has not been comprehensively gathered and synthesized. Therefore, this review examined the utilization of primary prevention interventions, an element of health promotion, for adults at risk for obesity within the scope of occupational therapy.

DESIGN: Electronic literature searches of PubMed, CINAHL, Cochrane, and PscyINFO were completed using the Arksey and O'Malley framework.

METHOD: Four reviewers screened 7216 articles for the following inclusion criteria: 1) Primary prevention interventions targeting participants 18+; 2) Studies from 2006–2022; 3) Non-obese adults with Body Mass Index less than or equal to 29.9.

RESULTS: Sixteen articles were included in the review. Of the 16 articles, 4 were published in the United States. Seven articles were targeted specifically at adult women, whereas the remaining 9 articles included men and women. Nurses, physicians, and dietitians were involved in some of the study interventions, but occupational therapy practitioners were not included in any of the studies. Interventions included content assessing weight, increasing physical activity, promoting dietary changes, and providing health education.

CONCLUSION: This is the first scoping review to examine utilization of primary prevention interventions for adults at-risk of obesity. Findings illustrate that primary prevention interventions frequently occur outside of the United States and often target women. Content of interventions varies significantly, and no existing literature demonstrates inclusion of occupational therapy practitioners in these interventions.

IMPACT STATEMENT: This review indicates that primary prevention interventions targeting adults at risk for obesity are limited, particularly within the field of occupational therapy. Occupational therapy’s expertise promoting healthy routines and habits is well aligned and should be incorporated into future primary prevention interventions for adult obesity.


American Occupational Therapy Association. (2012). AOTA’s societal statement on obesity. American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 66(6, Suppl.), S81–S82.

American Occupational Therapy Association. (2020). Occupational therapy practice framework: Domain and process (4th ed.). American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 74(Suppl. 2), 7412410010.