Promotion of healthy nutrition among students participating in a school food aid program: a randomized trial
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Zota, D., Dalma, A., Petralias, A., Lykou, A., Kastorini, C. M., Yannakoulia, M., Karnaki, P., Belogianni, K., Veloudaki, A., Riza, E., Malik, R. & Linos, A. (2016) Promotion of healthy nutrition among students participating in a school food aid program: a randomized trial. International Journal of Public Health, 61(5), pp. 583-592.
Objectives To evaluate the potential benefits on students’ eating habits, of incorporating healthy nutrition education as part of a school food aid program. Methods 146 schools participating in the DIATROFI Program in Greece during the 2013–2014 school year were randomly allocated to the environmental intervention (received a healthy daily meal) and the multicomponent intervention (MI) group (in addition to the meal, a healthy nutrition educational program was applied). The analysis, based on 3627 pre–post intervention questionnaire pairs, was stratified for children (ages 4–11 years) and adolescents (ages 12–18 years). Results Children participating in the MI group displayed 25 % higher odds of increasing the weekly consumption of milk/yoghurt and fruits, 61 % higher odds of improving BMI from overweight/obese to normal and 2.5 times higher odds of improving from underweight to normal. For adolescents in the MI group, the odds of increasing the consumption of vegetables were 40 % higher. In both intervention groups, approximately one in four overweight/obese adolescents reached normal weight. Conclusions Educational programs on healthy nutrition might be considered worth implementing in the framework of school food aid programs.