Abstract Ref Number = APCP390
A NOVEL SCHOOL-BASED HEALTHY LIFESTYLE PROJECT TO IMPROVE FOOD HABITS AMONG GRADE 1-2 STUDENTS IN SRI-LANKA
Sumudu SENEVIRATNE,Pujitha Wickramasinghe,Bimali Yapa,Piumali Samarasekera,Sahana Ramamoorthy,Thilini Dissanayake,Renuka Peiris,Noel Somasundaram
Department of Paediatrics Faculty of Medicine University of Colombo SriLanka Diabetes and Cardiovacular Initiative Ministry of Education Ministry of Health
Background : Childhood obesity is increasing rapidly due to an unhealthy lifestyle. A novel primary school-based intervention project was designed to improve food habits in primary school-children in Sri-Lanka, using a sticker-based food-diary(FD) and a healthy-lifestyle story book .
Material : A pilot study was conducted in March/April 2018 among grade 1-2 students of a national girls’ school in Colombo, Sri Lanka to evaluate the short-term effectiveness and acceptability of the project. Baseline BMI was assessed, and students maintained FDs at home daily for two weeks (pre-intervention and post-intervention week), using food and smiley-face (SF) stickers, under parental guidance (Image 1). Class-teachers read the healthy-lifestyle storybook to students after the first-week, and parents were requested to support any requests by children to change food habits after listening to the story. Pre-and post-intervention FD Smiley Face Scores(SFS)(+1 per healthy meal/snack -1 per unhealthy) were compared using Wilcoxon signed-rank tests. Feedback from parents/class teachers was collected using graded response questionnaires.
Results : 321 students (82%) completed FDs. Students’ SFS % improved significantly in the post-intervention week (pre-intervention= 51.2%±7.2, post-intervention= 62.4%±8.1, p<0.001). More than 90% of parents agreed/ strongly agreed that the FD was easy to maintain and understand and helped the child learn about healthy/ unhealthy foods. Furthermore > 92% parents felt that their child’s food habits improved following the project, and 98% parents felt motivated to improve their family food habits. All class-teachers(n=10) agreed/strongly agreed that students: showed interest; asked questions; understood; successfully grasped the messages in the storybook, and 90% agreed they saw an improvement in students’ food habits following the program.
Conclusions : This program led to improvement in food habits among grade 1-2 students at an urban Sri Lankan school and was well-accepted by students, teachers and parents. Participants BMI and FDS scores will be re-assessed at 6-months and project expanded to reach more schools.
Keywords: Childhood obesity Healthy diet School based Prevention