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PostSubject: health and nutrition education   Sun Aug 28, 2011 11:22 am

health and nutrition education

Evaluation of a Health and Nutrition Education Program in Primary School Children of Crete over a Three-Year Period

Yannis Manios M.Med.Sc., Joanna Moschandreas M.Sc., Christos Hatzis M.D. and Anthony Kafatos M.D.2

Department of Social Medicine, Preventive Medicine and Nutrition Clinic, Medical School, University of Crete, P.O. Box 1393 Heraklio, Crete, Greece

Available online 27 March 2002.


Background.No national policy for health education in schools exists to date in Greece. The first attempt to apply a school-based health education intervention program was launched in 1992 on all 4,171 pupils registered in the first grade in two counties of Crete. The 1,510 pupils registered in a third county served as controls.

Methods.The school-based intervention and the seminars organized for parents were primarily aimed at improving children's diet, fitness, and physical activity. Pupils in the first grade in a representative sample of 40 schools were examined prior to the intervention program on a variety of health knowledge, dietary, physical activity, fitness, anthropometric, and biochemical indices. The same measurements were taken after 3 years of the program on 288 intervention group and 183 control group pupils.

Results.Positive serum lipid level changes occurred to a greater extent in the intervention group than the control group. BMI increased less in the intervention group than for controls. The increase in health knowledge and physical activity and fitness levels occurred to a higher extent in the intervention group compared to controls.

Conclusions.The short-term changes observed in the present study are markedly encouraging and indicate great potential for progressive improvement. Continuation and expansion of such a program may prove to be beneficial in initiating long-term changes.

Author Keywords: children; health education; diet; physical fitness; physical activity; cholesterol.

*1 This study was funded by the EU, the Europe Against Cancer program and the Mediterranean Integrated Program of Crete, General Secretary of the Periphery of Crete. We would also like to acknowledge the help of our collagues Caroline Codrington, Ioanna Apostolaki, Fotini Chiladaki, Eleni Kantidaki and George Mamalakis. We would like to thank the Directors of the Boards of Education in the countries of Heralio, Rethymno and Hania during the 1992 to 1995 time period for their cooperation: Manolis Gondikakis, Grigoris Smirnakis, Kostas Flouris, Theoharis Doukakis, Yiannis Fotakis, Manolis Voludakis and Spiros Aligizakis. Our thanks also got ot Evaggelia Balomenaki, Director of the Pediatric Clinic in Chania and the pediatricians Hara Galanaki and Dimitris Athanasopoulos for their valuable contribution in the Chania field assessments. Finally, we would like to thank the Archbishop Ireneos of Chania for the hospitality and accomodation provided to our research team in Hania.

*2 This study was funded by the EU, the Europe Against Cancer program and the Mediterranean Integrated Program of Crete, General Secretary of the Periphery of Crete.

*3 The research laboratory of the University of Crete is a participant in the quality control protocol of the Murex Clinical Chemistry Quality Assessment Program and the WHO Collaborating Lipid Reference Centre at the Institute for Clinical and Experimental Medicine, Prague.

*4 Simopoulos, A, P

2 To whom reprint requests should be addressed.
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