Journal Article

Fresh Kids: the efficacy of a Health Promoting Schools approach to increasing consumption of fruit and water in Australia

S. Laurence, R. Peterken and C. Burns

in Health Promotion International

Volume 22, issue 3, pages 218-226
Published in print September 2007 | ISSN: 0957-4824
Published online June 2007 | e-ISSN: 1460-2245 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/heapro/dam016
Fresh Kids: the efficacy of a Health Promoting Schools approach to increasing consumption of fruit and water in Australia

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Abstract

The Fresh Kids programme utilized the Health Promoting Schools (HPSs) framework to design a whole-of-school, multifaceted intervention targeting specific behaviours to promote healthy eating and reduce the risk factors associated with childhood obesity. The aim of the programme was to evaluate the effectiveness of the HPS framework to increase fruit and water consumption among primary school-aged children over a 2-year period. The study design was an interrupted time series. Four primary schools in the inner west of Melbourne, Australia, participated in the programme intervention. Baseline data were collected using a lunch box audit to assess the frequency of children with fresh fruit, water and sweet drinks, either brought from home or selected from canteen lunch orders. The lunch box audit was repeated periodically for up to 2 years following programme implementation to assess the sustainability of dietary changes. Across all participating schools, significant increases between 25 and 50% were observed in the proportion of children bringing fresh fruit. Similarly, all schools recorded increases between 15 and 60% in the proportion of students bringing filled water bottles to school and reductions between 8 and 38% in the proportion of children bringing sweet drinks. These significant changes in dietary patterns were sustained for up to 2 years following programme implementation. Targeting key nutrition behaviours and using the HPS framework is an effective and simple approach which could be readily implemented in similar childhood settings. Effective strategies include facilitating organizational change within the school; integrating curriculum activities; formalizing school policy and establishing project partnerships with local community nutrition and dietetic services.

Keywords: health promoting schools; childhood obesity; nutrition; dietitians

Journal Article.  4487 words. 

Subjects: Public Health and Epidemiology

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