Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Family environmental factors do not explain differences in the behavioral effect of a healthy diet promotion program in lower vocational schools among

In a paper in American Journal of Health Promotion, Martens et al assess whether family environmental factors affected changes in fruit and snack consumption among 12- to 14-year-old adolescents participating in a Dutch healthy diet promotion program. Data from an intervention study in 10 schools were analysed. The participants (students and one parent) were recruited from lower vocational schools in the southern and central parts of The Netherlands. The authors were able to get 502 matched student and parent questionnaires. The results indicated that there were no significant family environmental predictors of program-induced changes in either fruit or snack intakes aof adolescents. So despite the fact that family-environments are regarded as of crucial importance for child and adolescent nutrition behaviours, in this study no evidence was found that such family factors influence the effectiveness of a school-based healthful nutrition promotion program. The study suggests that there were subgroups of adolescents who profited less from the program because of family environmental factors.

Dutch youth health care promotes four so-called energy-balance
behaviours for the prevention of obesity: increasing physical activity, reducing
sedentary behaviour and sugar-containing drinks, and eating breakfast. However,
data on the prevalence of these behaviours and intentions to engage in
them among primary schoolchildren is limited, especially for multi-ethnic,
inner-city populations. In a paper by Jansen et al. in Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics explorative evidence on these energy-balance behaviours is presented for adolescents in the Rotterdam area, a city with approximately 50% adolescents from ethnic minorities. Jansen is senior researcher at the municipal health service in the Rotterdam area.
The prevalence of being overweight was 30.4%, including 9.0% obesity.
Engagement in energy-balance behaviours varied from 58.6% for outdoor play
(>1 h previous day) to 85.9% for active transportation to school.
The highest positive intentions were reported for taking part in sports
(83.9%), and lowest for reducing computer time (41.3%). Only very small differences in behaviours and intentions according to socio-demographic characteristics including ethnic background were found. The results confirm that the prevalence of being overweight among Dutch inner-city schoolchildren is high. The small differences between ethnic groups suggest that a general rather than a differentiated approach is needed to improve engagement in energy-balance behaviours among inner-city schoolchildren.