EFFECTIVENESS OF A SCHOOL-BASED MULTICOMPONENT INTERVENTION ON CHILDREN NUTRITIONAL STATUS AMONG PRIMARY SCHOOL CHILDREN IN BANGKOK, THAILAND

Nattapon Chawla, Alessio Panza, Chutima Sirikulchayanonta, Ramesh Kumar, Surasak Taneepanichskul

Abstract


Background: Childhood obesity has become a major public health issue today. The prevalence of obesity and overweight is increasing in both adult and children. Childhood obesity in Thailand has more than doubled since the 1960s and a recent study reported that overweight and obesity in Thai is the 5th highest in Asia. The present study objective is to evaluate the effectiveness of a life skills multicomponent school-based intervention on children’s nutritional status. Methods: A quasi-experimental design was conducted in two-groups (control and intervention schools) on 453 students attending grade levels 4–5 in Bangkok. Two schools were selected for control, and two schools for intervention groups. The intervention included education, dietary, physical activity, food-environment, school built-environment, and life skills components. Outcomes were measured at baseline and post-treatment measured after 6 months. Results: The intervention group had significant improvements in healthier practice (+1.5 mean difference, p=0.048) on dietary habits and physical activity, lowered cholesterol levels (-2.43 mean, p=0.019), and higher HDL levels (+4.06 p=0.028) as compared to control. A higher reduction of overweight individuals among the intervention group over the intervention period was observed. Physical activity and consumption of vegetable increased while consumption of high-caloric snacks and fasts food decreased in children after the intervention. Conclusion: Childhood overweight and obesity is a serious public health problem based on its increasing rates and the associated health risks. This study indicated that multidisciplinary approach on school-based interventions is likely most effective to prevent children becoming overweight in long term. More research should be conducted on school-based intervention with longer intervention periods with higher sustainability.

Keywords: Obesity; Life skills; Multicomponent; Physical activity; Cholesterol; HDL


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