Program

Jun 24, 2009

 OVERVIEW

This fitness and nutrition intervention is a school-based
program geared at preventing obesity risk factors in children and adolescents.
The program consists of school-based and home-based nutrition components as well
as a fitness education portion. In an evaluation of the program, researchers
tested the effects of various combinations of these three program components
relative to a no-treatment control condition. Participants were randomly
assigned to one of the six following conditions: 1) fitness education; 2)
fitness education and school nutrition; 3) school nutrition; 4) school nutrition
and home nutrition; 5) home nutrition; and 6) no-treatment control. Results
generally indicated that children receiving some combination of the nutrition
interventions experienced improvements on some indicators of diet relative to
controls, but there were no significant differences across groups on other
indicators of nutrition. Additionally, children receiving the fitness education
experienced the greatest improvements in physical activity relative to control
participants. Girls in the two fitness groups experienced significantly greater
decreases in blood pressure relative to controls. Finally, participants in the
fitness + school nutrition group were the only to experience changes in body
composition relative to controls.

DESCRIPTION OF PROGRAM

Target population:10 to 12 year old children and
adolescents.

This fitness and nutrition intervention is a school-based
obesity prevention program consisting of three components that can be
implemented in combination or separately from one another.

Two of the three components focus on nutrition and were
specifically designed to increase fruit, vegetable, whole grain, and cereal
consumption and to decrease fat, sugar, and salt consumption. The school-based
nutrition component consists of 10, 60-minute lessons geared at improving
food-based knowledge and attitudes, as well as eating habits.

The home-based nutrition component is delivered through
educational comics provided by the children’s schools and requires participants
to complete homework assignments. Parents are also provided with materials to
assist their children in completing homework assignments, preparing healthy
meals, and other activities.

The fitness education component replaces children’s regular
physical education classes and includes six, 30-minute classroom sessions geared
at providing a rationale for subsequent activity sessions and for exercise in
general. Throughout the remainder of the intervention, children were able to
choose from a variety of physical activities. The intensity and duration of
these activity options were increased throughout the school year. The fitness
activities are carried out in 15-minute sessions each school day.

EVALUATION(S) OF PROGRAM

Vandongen, R., Jenner, D.A., Thompson, C., Taggart, A.C.,
Spickett, E.E., Burke, V., Beilin, L.J., Milligan, R.A., & Dunbar, D.L.
(1995). A controlled evaluation of a fitness and nutrition intervention program
on cardiovascular health in 10- to 12-year-old children. Preventive
Medicine, 24,
9-22.

Evaluated population: A total of 1,147 boys and girls
attending 30 schools in Australia served as the sample for this evaluation.

Approach: Researchers tested the effects of various
combinations of the three program components relative to a no-treatment control
condition. At the beginning of the school year, each of the 30 participating
schools was randomly assigned to have its students participate in one of the
following six study conditions: 1) fitness education, 2) fitness education +
school nutrition, 3) school nutrition, 4) school nutrition + home nutrition, 5)
home nutrition, and 6) no-treatment control. The study was conducted over the
course of one school year, beginning in February and ending in December. All
participants were measured at baseline and at the conclusion of the intervention
on the following measures: Dietary intake, physical fitness, body composition,
blood pressure, and cholesterol.

Results: The results summary is organized by
outcome type.

Dietary intake:

  • All participants in the school + home nutrition
    group reported significantly greater improvements in fiber intake relative to
    controls.
  • Boys in both fitness groups and in the school + home
    nutrition
    group reported significant improvements in sugar intake relative
    to boys in the control group.
  • Boys in the fitness + school nutrition, school
    nutrition only
    , and school + home nutrition groups reported
    significantly greater increases in protein intake from baseline relative to
    controls
  • Boys in the school nutrition group reported
    significant improvements in salt intake relative to controls
  • Girls in the home nutrition only group reported
    significant improvements in level of fat intake post-intervention relative to
    control group girls.
  • Girls in the school + home nutrition and the home nutrition only groups reported significantly greater decreases in
    saturated fat intake from baseline relative to control girls.
  • Girls in the fitness group reported significantly
    greater improvements in fiber intake relative to controls.
  • There were no significant differences on reported fat or
    saturated fat intake for intervention boys relative to controls.
  • There were no differences for girls across study groups
    on reports of sugar intake.
  • There were no differences for girls across groups on
    protein intake.
  • Girls in both fitness groups and the school nutrition
    group reported an increase in salt relative to controls.

Physical fitness:

  • All participants in the fitness groups showed a
    significant increase in endurance fitness relative to control participants.
  • Girls in the school + home nutrition group also
    exhibited significant increases in endurance relative to control girls.
  • There were no other statistically significant
    differences across groups.

Body composition, blood pressure, and cholesterol:

  • Participants in the fitness + school nutrition
    group experienced significant decreases in tricep skinfold thickness relative
    to controls.
  • There was a significant decrease in blood pressure
    relative to control participants for girls in the two fitness group.
  • There were no significant differences across groups on
    change in subscapular skinfold thickness, body fat percentage, cholesterol, or
    BMI relative to controls.

SOURCES FOR MORE INFORMATION

References:

Vandongen, R., Jenner, D.A., Thompson, C., Taggart, A.C.,
Spickett, E.E., Burke, V., Beilin, L.J., Milligan, R.A., & Dunbar, D.L.
(1995). A controlled evaluation of a fitness and nutrition intervention program
on cardiovascular health in 10- to 12-year-old children. Preventive
Medicine, 24,
9-22.

KEYWORDS: Children, Adolescents, Co-Ed, Home-Based,
School-Based, Parent or Family Component, Skills Training, Nutrition, Physical Activity, Weight

Program information last updated on 6/24/09.

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