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Using a mixed-methods approach to measure impact of a school-based nutrition and media education intervention study on fruit and vegetable intake of Italian children

Grassi, Elena, Evans, Alexandra, Ranjit, Nalini, Pria, Simona Dalla, Messina, Laura
Public health nutrition 2016 v.19 no.11 pp. 1952-1963
childhood, children, elementary schools, fruits, literacy, nutrition education, obesity, parents, vegetable consumption, vegetables, Italy
The purpose of the present study was to investigate the impact of a school-based nutrition and media education intervention on the promotion of fruit and vegetable consumption to help prevent childhood obesity. The 10-week-long intervention included sessions on nutrition education and media literacy. It also included a health communication media-based campaign workshop during which the children created posters, newsletters and video commercials related to fruits and vegetables targeted to their parents. For evaluation purposes, the study utilized a mixed-methods approach, including a quasi-experimental study (with one intervention group and one control group) and a focus group study. Four different elementary schools in Treviso (Veneto Region of Italy) agreed to participate in the research. The target population for the study included 10-year-old Italian children and their parents. Data indicate that this intervention was effective for children but not for parents. Evaluation results show that the intervention was effective in significantly increasing children’s fruit and vegetable intake (P<0·05) and all psychosocial determinants (P<0·05). The study results confirm the efficacy of a school-based health and media education intervention to address the children’s obesity issue and, in particular, to increase children’s fruit and vegetable intake. The study also opens a new perspective on the theoretical constructs investigated, because the development of ‘ability of expression’ could be considered one of the most important factors to determine the efficacy of the intervention.