The Application of Systems Science in Nutrition-Related Behaviors and Outcomes Implementation Research: A Scoping Review

Elsevier, Current Developments in Nutrition, Volume 5, 1 September 2021
Walker A.E., Wattick R.A., Olfert M.D.
Use of systems science can improve the dissemination and implementation (D&I) process. However, little is known about use of systems science in nutrition D&I research. The purpose of this article is to synthesize the ways in which systems science methodology is applied in nutrition D&I research. Scoping review methodology involved searching 6 academic databases for full-text, peer-reviewed, English articles published between 1970 and 2020 that employed systems science within nutrition D&I research. Data extraction included intervention type, population, study aim, methods, theoretical approach, outcomes, and results. Descriptive statistics and qualitative thematic analysis followed. Thirty-four retained articles qualitatively identified benefits (successful planning and organization of complex interventions) and challenges (limited resources, trainings, and lack of knowledge) to utilizing systems science in nutrition D&I research. Future research should work toward building knowledge capacity among nutrition practitioners by increasing available trainings and resources to enhance the utilization of systems science in nutrition D&I research.