The Active Programme Promoting Lifestyle in Schools (APPLES) intervention is a school-based obesity prevention program with physical activity and nutrition components. In an experimental evaluation of the program, 10 schools were randomly assigned either to have their students participate in the APPLES program or to a no-treatment control group. Results indicated that, at the conclusion of the intervention, APPLES children reported higher vegetable intake than control children. However, there were no differences across groups on BMI. Furthermore, analyses on overweight and obese subsets of the sample indicated that the intervention was associated with harmful outcomes for these children; it was linked to increased sedentary behavior and sugar intake and decreased fruit intake.
DESCRIPTION OF PROGRAM
Target population: Children between the ages of 7 and 11.
The Active Programme Promoting Lifestyle in Schools (APPLES) intervention is a multidisciplinary, school-based obesity prevention program for children. The program uses school, family, and community resources to disseminate health information to the children. Components of the intervention include modifying school lunch menus, training teachers, and each school is responsible for the development of individualized action plans designed to promote healthy eating and physical activity. Implementation of the intervention occurs over the course of one academic year.
EVALUATION OF PROGRAM
Sahota, P., Rudolf, M.C.J., Dixey, R., Hill, A.J., Barth, J.H., & Cade, J. (2001). Randomised controlled trial of primary school based
intervention to reduce risk factors for obesity. British Medical Journal, 323,1-5.
Evaluated population: A total of 636 seven-to eleven-year-old children from 10 primary schools in Leeds, England served as the sample for this evaluation. Schools were located outside of the inner city area and were characterized by having generally more advantaged children. The sample was 45 percent female and 55 percent male.
Approach: Each school was randomly assigned either to participate in the APPLES program (N=314) or to a no-treatment control group (N=322). Schools in the no-treatment control group continued to implement their normal health programs.
Researchers collected baseline data during the summer before the beginning of the academic year. They assessed children using measures of growth, diet, physical activity, and psychological state. Follow-up data (for all measures) were collected one year after baseline, during the summer following the end of the intervention.
Results: Results indicated that there were no significant differences between intervention and control children on changes in BMI. For nutrition, children in the intervention group reported higher vegetable intake in the day before the follow-up assessment than children in the control group. However, separate analyses on a sample subset indicated that obese children in the intervention reported lower fruit intake than children in the control group. Furthermore, overweight children receiving the intervention reported higher intake of foods and drinks high in sugar than overweight children in the control group. There were no differences for the complete sample between intervention and control children on measures of physical activity. However, overweight children in the intervention group had greater increases in sedentary behaviors than overweight children in the control group. Finally, obese children in the intervention group experienced significantly greater increases in global self-worth than obese children in the control group.
SOURCES FOR MORE INFORMATION
Sahota, P., Rudolf, M.C.J., Dixey, R., Hill, A.J., Barth, J.H., & Cade, J. (2001). Randomised controlled trial of primary school based intervention to reduce risk factors for obesity. British Medical Journal, 323,1-5.
Keywords: Children, Elementary, Co-ed, School-based, Suburban, Nutrition, Obesity, Other – Physical Health
Program information last updated on 3/14/12.