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Arch Latinoam Nutr. 2004 Jun;54(2 Suppl 1):14-9.

[School-based education strategies to promote fruit and vegetable consumption: the Pro Children Project].

[Article in Spanish]

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  • 1Servicio Municipal de Salud Pública, Bilbao, España.


Available population data suggest that a high proportion of European children and young people eat less fruit and vegetables than desirable. School based health promotion strategies fostering healthy eating practices and regular physical activity has the potential for a major impact on health and wellbeing during childhood and later stages in life. The aim of Pro-Children project is to estimate the consumption of fruit and vegetables as well as its main determinants among 11 year old European children and their families. It also aims to develop and assess the effectiveness of a school-based intervention program to promote adequate consumption levels of fruit and vegetables among school children. In the first phase of the project, cross-sectional studies were carried out on random population samples in nine European countries. The study protocol included assessment of fruit and vegetable consumption and a questionnaire to ascertain key determinants. A school-based intervention program was designed based on the Attitude, Social Influence and Self-Efficacy model (ASE). Theoretically similar but culturally relevant interventions were designed to be tested in Norway, The Netherlands and Spain during two school years. Each intervention site follows-up 10 intervention schools implementing the program and 10 control schools. Intervention planning and design followed an intervention mapping procedure. Key behaviours and determinants to be addressed through the intervention were identified in order to develop a matrix of educational objectives. The provision of fruit and vegetables in the school is an outstanding element. Program activities include guided classroom activities, computer tailored messages for children, activities to be completed at home with the family and family targeted specific actions. Additionally, optional components for community reinforcement include mass media, school health services participation and implication of grocery stores in the project. Despite cultural and social diversity, common school-based strategies to increase fruit and vegetable consumption among children are feasible across Europe. Understanding specific situations will enhance implementation and gain support.

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