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The purpose of the present study was to evaluate the effects of a school-based, 2-year, multi-component intervention on BMI, eating and physical activity behaviour in Flanders, Belgium, targeting children aged 3–6 years in communities of high and low socio-economic status (SES).
Cluster-randomized controlled trial.
Thirty-one pre-primary and primary schools in three different intervention communities and three paired-matched (on SES profile) control communities in Flanders, Belgium.
BMI Z-scores at baseline and follow-up were calculated for 1102 children. Questionnaires with sociodemographic data and FFQ were available from 694 of these 1102 children.
No significant effects were found on BMI Z-scores for the total sample. However, there was a significant decrease in BMI Z-score of 0·11 in the low-SES intervention community compared with the low-SES control community, where the BMI Z-score increased by 0·04 (F = 6·26, P = 0·01). No significant intervention effects could be found for eating behaviour, physical activity or screen-time. There were no significant interaction effects of age and gender of the children on the outcome variables.
Although no significant effects were found for BMI Z-scores in the total sample, this intervention had a promising effect in the low-SES community of reducing excess weight gain among young children.
To investigate the feasibility and impact of the Food-O-Meter, an Internet-based computer-tailored nutrition intervention in adolescents.
Participants in the intervention condition received the computer-tailored advice at baseline and at 1 month, those in the control condition received standardised advice. Effects were evaluated at 1 month (n 621) and at 3 months (n 558) using multi-level modelling.
Secondary schools in six European cities. Adolescents accessed the intervention in the school computer room under the supervision of teachers.
Classes with students aged 12–17 years in the schools participating in the HELENA (Healthy Lifestyle in Europe by Nutrition in Adolescence) cross-sectional study were randomised into intervention and control schools.
In most participating centres the intervention was feasible and generally well appreciated, especially by girls. Technical problems and lack of motivation of the teachers hindered implementation in some centres. Overweight adolescents had higher scores for reading and using the advice than normal weight adolescents. After 1 month adolescents receiving the standardised advice reported an increase in fat intake, while fat intake in the intervention condition was stable (F = 4·82, P < 0·05). After 3 months, there was a trend in the total group for an intervention effect of the tailored advice on fat intake (F = 2·80, P < 0·10). In the overweight group there was a clear positive effect (F = 5·76, P < 0·05).
The Food-O-Meter should be developed further. The results were modest but clear for percentage energy from fat, specifically in the overweight group. Adaptations based on new research are needed to enhance the reliability and effectiveness of the intervention.
To identify the correlates of the home food environment (parents’ intake, availability and food-related parenting practices) at the age of 10 years with dietary patterns during childhood and in adolescence.
Primary-school children of fifty-nine Flemish elementary schools completed a questionnaire at school in 2002. Four years later they completed a questionnaire by e-mail or mail at home. Their parents completed a questionnaire on food-related parenting practices at baseline.
The analyses included 609 matched questionnaires.
Multi-level regression analyses were used to identify baseline parenting practices (pressure, reward, negotiation, catering on demand, permissiveness, verbal praise, avoiding negative modelling, availability of healthy/unhealthy food items and mothers’ fruit and vegetable (F&V) and excess scores) associated with children’s dietary patterns (F&V and excess scores).
Mother’s F&V score was a significant positive independent predictor for children’s F&V score at baseline and follow-up, whereas availability of unhealthy foods was significantly negatively associated with both scores. Negotiation was positively associated with children’s follow-up score of F&V, while permissiveness was positively associated with children’s follow-up excess score. Availability of unhealthy foods and mother’s excess score were positively related to children’s excess score at baseline and follow-up.
Parental intake and restricting the availability of unhealthy foods not only appeared to have a consistent impact on children’s and adolescents’ diets, but also negotiating and less permissive food-related parenting practices may improve adolescents’ diets.
To explore the relationship between several physical activity (PA) and dietary behaviours and BMI Z-score and to investigate the relationship between changes in these variables and in the BMI Z-score over a 4-year period from childhood to adolescence.
Longitudinal study in which children were included in the fifth grade and measured for four consecutive years. Dietary and PA behaviours as well as height and weight were measured by means of self-reported validated questionnaires.
Fifty-nine Flemish elementary schools.
The baseline sample consisted of 51·9 % boys and the mean age was 10 (sd 0·4) years. During the first measurement year (2002), data on 1670 fifth graders were gathered. These measurements were repeated after 1 (n 1557), 2 (n 1151) and 3 (n 807) years.
Significant inverse relationships with BMI Z-score were observed for frequency of breakfast consumption (β = −0·033, se = 0·012) and frequency of sports participation (β = −0·011, se = 0·004) across four time points. Significant inverse relationships between changes in BMI Z-score and changes in frequency of sports participation (β = −0·011, se = 0·006) and hours of physical education (PE; β = −0·052, se = 0·023) were observed, meaning that decreases in sports participation and hours spent in PE were associated with increases in BMI Z-score.
The present study provides an important insight into different dietary and PA behaviours related to (changes in) BMI Z-score during the transition from childhood to adolescence.
To evaluate the effects of a middle-school healthy eating promotion intervention combining environmental changes and computer-tailored feedback, with and without an explicit parent involvement component.
Clustered randomised controlled trial.
Fifteen West-Flemish (Belgian) middle schools.
A random sample of 15 schools with 2991 pupils in 7th and 8th grades was randomly assigned to an intervention group with parental support (n = 5), an intervention group without parental support (n = 5) and a control group (n = 5). In these 15 schools an intervention combining environmental changes with computer-tailored feedback was implemented. Fat and fruit intake, water and soft drinks consumption were measured with food-frequency questionnaires in the total sample of children.
In girls, fat intake and percentage of energy from fat decreased significantly more in the intervention group with parental support, compared with the intervention alone group (all F>3.9, P < 0.05) and the control group (all F>16.7, P < 0.001). In boys, there were no significant decreases in fat intake (F = 1.4, not significant (NS)) or percentage of energy from fat (F = 0.7, NS) as a result of the intervention. No intervention effects were found in boys or in girls for fruit (F = 0.5, NS), soft drinks (F = 2.6, NS) and water consumption (F = 0.3, NS).
Combining physical and social environmental changes with computer-tailored feedback in girls and their parents can induce lower fat intake in middle-school girls. However, to have an impact on the consumption of soft drinks and water, governmental laws that restrict the at-school availability of low-nutritive products may be necessary.
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