Evidence of Impact
Various studies including those based on randomized controlled trials and systematic reviews have shown positive effects of school-based nutrition education interventions on dietary intake and outcomes in children.
A recent study by STC College of Home Sciences, SNDT Women’s University, Mumbai, based on intervention in the form of 12 weekly sessions with children and 3 parents’ sessions over four months has shown improvements in mean knowledge, attitude, and practices related to diets in pre to post-assessments.
Integrating nutrition education in the academic curriculum with targeted information delivery and participatory activities improves knowledge, foster the right attitudes, and facilitates better eating and activity-related practices in Indian adolescents.
- Intervention in the form of 12 weekly sessions with children and 3 parent sessions over three months resulted in improvements in mean knowledge (39.3%), attitude (7.3%) and diets (9.6%), and activity practice (9.4%) in pre to post-assessments. The study was conducted by Dr. Panchali Moitra and Dr. Jagmeet Madan, SNDT Women’s University, Mumbai in 2019 and is published in Public Health Nutrition, February 2021.
- Studies in other countries such as the Healthy Lifestyles TEEN study (Melnyk et al., 2013), and the Lifestyle Education for Activity Program (LEAP) in the USA (Saunders et al., 2012), a theory-based contextual education program in South Africa (Kupolati, MacIntyre, Gericke, & Becker, 2019) and a 10-week multi modal nutrition education (Gwynn et al 2019) have demonstrated similar evidence of impact.
- Systematic review of 24 randomized controlled trials conducted in schools across the world highlighted that the interventions that demonstrated effectiveness in improving the dietary habits of children were: introduction into the regular activities of the school, parental involvement, and integration of nutrition education into the regular curriculum (Silveira, Taddei, Guerra, & Nobre, 2011).
- Another systematic review of teacher delivered interventions showed that the programs with successful outcomes tended to be focused on bringing a change in behaviour along with improvements in knowledge levels and were more often those that included developmentally and culturally appropriate behaviour change communication strategies (Dudley, Cotton, & Peralta, 2015).
- Findings of a recent review of 13 systematic reviews highlighted the positive effects of school-based nutrition education interventions on dietary intake outcomes in children and reiterated the need for continued public health investment in nutrition behaviour change programs (O’ Brien, KM; Barnes C; Yoong S; Campbell E et al 2021)