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Int J Public Health. 2009;54(3):142-9. doi: 10.1007/s00038-009-8028-2.

Results from a dietary intervention study in preschools "Beastly Healthy at School".

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  • 1Department of Public Health, Ghent University, UH bloc A, De Pintelaan 185, 9000, Ghent, Belgium.



Applying the Intervention Mapping Protocol, an intervention was developed to assist Belgian preschools in the implementation of a healthy school food policy. In the present study the impact of the intervention on children's food consumption is investigated.


Teachers and parents from 16 schools (8 intervention; 8 control) were asked to participate in the study. Teachers registered the children's available food and beverages during the morning and afternoon breaks (data of baseline and follow-up was matched for 618 intervention and 445 control children). Parents were asked to complete a food frequency questionnaire on their children's general consumption (308 intervention and 168 control matches).Linear mixed model analyses were used to investigate the intervention effect.


Both assessment methods indicate an increased fruit consumption for intervention children in comparison with control children, although the effect was only significant for the parental reported fruit consumption. Additionally the results suggest that the change is mainly due to increased availability at school. No significant associations were found for the other food items (snacks, vegetables and different types of beverages).


The results indicate that a healthy food policy at school can improve young children's diet.

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