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BACKGROUND: Health education interventions are considered critical for the prevention and management of conditions of public health concern. Although the burden of these conditions is often greatest in socio-economically disadvantaged populations, the effectiveness of interventions that target these groups is unknown. We aimed to identify and synthesize evidence of the effectiveness of health-related educational interventions in adult disadvantaged populations. METHODS: We pre-registered the study on Open Science Framework . We searched Medline, Embase, Emcare, and the Cochrane Register from inception to 5/04/2022 to identify studies evaluating the effectiveness of health-related educational interventions delivered to adults in socio-economically disadvantaged populations. Our primary outcome was health related behaviour and our secondary outcome was a relevant biomarker. Two reviewers screened studies, extracted data and evaluated risk of bias. Our synthesis strategy involved random-effects meta-analyses and vote-counting. RESULTS: We identified 8618 unique records, 96 met our criteria for inclusion - involving more than 57,000 participants from 22 countries. All studies had high or unclear risk of bias. For our primary outcome of behaviour, meta-analyses found a standardised mean effect of education on physical activity of 0.05 (95% confidence interval (CI) = -0.09-0.19), (5 studies, n = 1330) and on cancer screening of 0.29 (95% CI = 0.05-0.52), (5 studies, n = 2388). Considerable statistical heterogeneity was present. Sixty-seven of 81 studies with behavioural outcomes had point estimates favouring the intervention (83% (95% CI = 73%-90%), p 

Original publication




Journal article


Bmc public health

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Health education, Health promotion, Social determinants of health, Socio-economic disadvantage, Systematic review, Adult, Humans, Vulnerable Populations, Health Education, Health Promotion, Bias, Health Behavior