School Food Environment Promotion Program: Applying the Socio-ecological Approach

Authors

1 Assistant Professor in Health Education and Promotion, Tabriz University of Medical Sciences. Tabriz, Iran.

2 MSc Health Education and Health Promotion, Department of Health Education and Health Promotion, School of Health, Tabriz University of Medical Sciences, Tabriz, Iran.

3 Road Traffic Injury Research Center, Tabriz University of Medical Sciences, Tabriz, Iran.

4 PhD Candidate of Health Education and Health Promotion, Department of Health Education and Health Promotion, School of Health, Tabriz University of Medical Sciences, Tabriz, Iran

5 Assistant Professor of Nutrition, Tabriz University of Medical Sciences, Tabriz, Iran.

Abstract

Background
Despite of healthy nutrition recommendations have been offered in recent decades, researches show an increasing rate of unhealthy junk food consumption among primary school children. The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of health promotion intervention on the school food buffets and the changes in nutritional behaviors of the students.
Materials and Methods
In this Quasi-interventional study, eight schools agreed to participate in Tabriz city, Iran. The schools were randomly selected and divided into an intervention and a control group, and a pretest was given to both groups. A four weeks interventional program was conducted in eight randomly selected schools of the city based on the socio-ecological model. A check list was designed for the assessment of food items available at the schools’ buffets, a 60-item semi-quantitative food frequency questionnaire (FFQ) was used to assess the rate of food consumption and energy intake. Results evaluation and practice were analyzed using the Wilcoxon, Mann Whitney-U and Chi-square tests.
Results
The findings revealed reduction in the intervention group between before and after intervention with regard the range of junk food consumption, except for the sweets consumption. The number of junk foods provided in the schools buffets reduced in the intervention group. After the intervention on the intervention group significant decreases were found in the intake of energy, fat and saturated fatty acids compared to the control group (p = 0.00).  
Conclusion
In order to design effective school food environment promotion programs, school healthcare providers should consider multifaceted approaches. 

Keywords