What topics should Cochrane Public Health review in 2021-2025?

What topics should Cochrane Public Health review in 2021-2025?

Key messages

The top 3 priority topics identified by policy and health decision makers are:

        1. Dietary risks

        2. Obesity

        3. Physical activity

  • Reviews on these priority areas will have greater potential to impact policy and practice.
  • Cochrane Public Health encourages researchers and review author teams to develop systematic reviews of interventions in these areas.
  • We also encourage funders to support the development of reviews in these areas.

What is this study about?

  • The Cochrane Public Health review group uses systematic reviews to look at the effects of publich health programs and interventions.
  • The greatest health impacts are achieved when research is focused on issues that answer questions important to policy and health decision makers (our end-users).
  • The Cochrane Public Health review group wanted to find out what issues were priorities for end users.
  • We led a consultative process with global decision makers.

How did we carry out the prioritisation process?

1. We identified our end users as:

  • regional and global organisations working in public health policy or practice
  • review funders
  • guideline developers

2. We asked our end-users to identify priority topics for future Cochrane Public Health systematic reviews.

3. We ranked the responses on:

  • whether the topic was within the Cochrane Public Health review group's scope
  • whether a recent review on the topic already existed
  • potential global impact

What did we find?

Thirty-six end-users identified priority review topics.

Most end-users were located in high-income countries.

We identified dietary risks, obesity and physical activity as the key priority areas.

These areas contribute to poor health and disability on a global scale, and the World Health Organisation identifies that these areas need immediate attention.

Systematic reviews on interventions addressing dietary risks, obesity and physical activity will:

  • inform public health policy
  • support investment in programs targeting these priorities

Our end-users also identified knowledge translation, mental health and wellbeing, health inequalities and environmental hazards as priority areas.

We encourage experienced author teams to develop review questions (not already covered in a Cochrane review) that target these identified priority areas and submit review proposals to CPH for consideration: https://ph.cochrane.org/review-authors.


This prioritisation process is supported by a National Health and Medical Research Council grant (Australia) provided to Cochrane Public Health.

About us

This prioritisation process is conducted by the Cochrane Public Health Knowledge Translation Working Group, and led by Dr Melanie Kingsland and Professor Luke Wolfenden.

Key contacts:

Professor Luke Wolfenden, Cochrane Public Health Coordinating Editor


Dr Meghan Finch, Cochrane Public Health Knowledge Translation Manager


Find out more

Full article available here: https://academic.oup.com/jpubhealth/advance-article/doi/10.1093/pubmed/fdab287/6337912

Kingsland M, Barnes C, Doherty E, McCrabb S, Finch M, Cumpston M, et al. Identifying topics for future Cochrane Publich Health reviews. Journal of Public Health. 2021