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Prev Med. 1999 Feb;28(2):149-59.

Evaluation of a health and nutrition education program in primary school children of Crete over a three-year period.

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  • 1Department of Social Medicine, Medical School, University of Crete, Greece.



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.


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.


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.


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.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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