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Evaluation of a kindergarten-based nutrition education intervention for pre-school children in China

  • Chuanlai Hu (a1), Dongqing Ye (a1), Yingchun Li (a1), Yongling Huang (a1), Li Li (a1), Yongqing Gao (a1) and Sufang Wang (a1)...

Abstract

Objective

To evaluate the impact of nutrition education in kindergartens and to promote healthy dietary habits in children.

Design

Prospective cohort study. Four kindergartens with 1252 children were randomized to the intervention group and three with 850 children to the control group. The personal nutritional knowledge, attitudes and dietary behaviours of the parents were also investigated. Each month, children and parents in the intervention group participated in nutrition education activities. The main outcome measures were anthropometrics and diet-related behaviours of the children and the nutritional knowledge and attitudes of the parents at baseline, 6 months (mid-term) and 1 year (post-test). Baseline demographic and socio-economic characteristics were also collected.

Setting

Seven kindergartens from Hefei, the capital city of Anhui Province, eastern China.

Subjects

Two thousand one hundred and two 4- to 6-year-old pre-schoolers from seven kindergartens participated.

Results

The prevalence of children’s unhealthy diet-related behaviours decreased significantly and good lifestyle behaviours increased in the group receiving nutrition education compared with controls. Parental eating habits and attitudes to planning their children’s diets also changed appreciably in the intervention group compared with the control group (P < 0·05). However, there were no statistically significant differences in children’s height, weight, height-for-age Z-score or weight-for-age Z-score between the two groups.

Conclusions

Kindergarten-based nutrition education improves pre-schoolers’ lifestyle behaviours and brings about beneficial changes in parents’ attitudes to planning their children’s diets and their own personal eating habits.

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Copyright

Corresponding author

*Corresponding author: Email ydq@ahmu.edu.cn

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