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Effects of a School Based Intervention on Children’s Physical Activity and Healthy Eating: A Mixed-Methods Study

Khan, M; Bell, R; (2019) Effects of a School Based Intervention on Children’s Physical Activity and Healthy Eating: A Mixed-Methods Study. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health , 16 (22) , Article 4320. 10.3390/ijerph16224320. Green open access

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Abstract

Combined diet and physical activity school-based interventions (rather than only diet or physical activity interventions) are more likely to help prevent children from becoming overweight in the long term. However, such interventions are less prevalent, and therefore, this pilot study aimed to assess the feasibility of a gardening intervention coupled with awareness about plant-based meals among 9-10 year old children in a London primary school. We recruited 60 children from two Year 5 classes, one class participated as an intervention group, and results were compared against another class who acted as the control group. Children's physical activity (PA) was measured using GENEActiv wrist-worn accelerometers. Their fruit and vegetable intake and attitudes to and preferences in eating fruits and vegetables were measured using a self-report questionnaire. Furthermore, three focus groups were held with children in the intervention group to understand the reasons behind any change as a result of the intervention. Results are inconclusive; however, they indicate some impact on reduction of sedentary behaviour, increase of moderate to vigorous PA, knowledge of nutrition and some level of acceptance in trying new vegetables. School-based interventions involving gardening show some promise to increase children's PA and improve their attitudes to eating fruits and vegetables.

Type: Article
Title: Effects of a School Based Intervention on Children’s Physical Activity and Healthy Eating: A Mixed-Methods Study
Location: Switzerland
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.3390/ijerph16224320
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16224320
Language: English
Additional information: © 2019 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).
Keywords: Green Gym, accelerometry, children, garden, health behaviour, mixed methods, physical activity, quasi-experiment
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Pop Health Sciences > Institute of Epidemiology and Health
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Pop Health Sciences > Institute of Epidemiology and Health > Epidemiology and Public Health
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10085845
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