AbstractIntroduction. This work evaluated the impact of a nutrition intervention in school children of 6th and 7th grade and assessed whether changes persisted after the summer break.
Materials and methods. Eight classes of Hungarian adolescents (45% boys; 12.6 ± 0.1 years) were randomized into intervention (n = 117) and control (n = 112) groups. The 9-month long intervention included: 1) weekly classroom-based education with strong focus on practical elements such as tasting and meal preparation; 2) five sessions of afterschool cooking classes (open to children, parents and grandparents); and 3) online education materials. Anthropometric parameters (weight, height, waist circumference and body fat), aerobic fitness (Cooper test, 20-meter shuttle run test), nutrition knowledge and behaviors (questionnaires) were measured three times at baseline, post-intervention and after the summer holiday.
Results. Slight improvement in dietary knowledge and habits from baseline to post-intervention which did not persist after summer. Aerobic fitness increased in the intervention group, while did not change among controls. Anthropometric parameters remained unchanged in the intervention group, but waist circumference increased in controls, particularly in summer.
Conclusions. Findings suggest a positive impact of this intervention. Measures to mitigate unhealthy changes during the summer break are needed.