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Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Long term effects of a health promotion intervention in low socioeconomic Arab- Israeli kindergartens

Dan Nemet1*, Dganit Geva1, Michal Pantanowitz1, Narmen Igbaria1, Yoav Meckel2 and Alon Eliakim1

Author Affiliations

1 Child Health and Sports Center, Pediatric Department, Meir Medical Center, Kfar-Saba, Sackler School of Medicine, Tel-Aviv University, 59 Tchernichovski Street, Kfar-Saba, 44281, Israel

2 Zinman College of Physical Education and Sport Sciences at the Wingate Institute, Netanya, Israel

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BMC Pediatrics 2013, 13:45  doi:10.1186/1471-2431-13-45

Published: 1 April 2013

Abstract

Background

Obesity is the most common chronic pediatric disease in westernized, especially low socioeconomic societies. We previously demonstrated the beneficial effects of a randomized prospective school-based health education program for low socioeconomic status Arab-Israeli kindergarten children.

Methods

To examine whether the effects of our program on nutrition and physical activity knowledge and preferences, anthropometric measures, and fitness persisted one year after the end of intervention.

We were able to perform the one year follow-up in 203 kindergarten children (59% of our 342 original cohort; 85 control, 118 intervention).

Results

At one year following the intervention BMI and BMI percentiles approached baseline level in both the intervention (16.4±0.2 kg/m2 and 61.5±2.4%, respectively) and control group participants (16.5±0.2 kg/m2 and 58.5±3.3%, respectively). Yet, a year after the end of the intervention, the decrease in BMI%ile from baseline was significantly greater in the intervention group (-7.8±1.5 vs. -1.9±1.9, p<0.012). Nutritional and physical activity knowledge and preferences, and physical fitness remained significantly elevated in the intervention compared to the control group participants.

Conclusions

The beneficial effects of a kindergarten dietary-physical activity intervention applied by the kindergarten teachers, on nutrition and physical activity knowledge and preferences, fitness, and BMI percentile were evident one year after the end of intervention. This promising program may play a role in health promotion, prevention and treatment of childhood obesity.

Keywords:
Obesity; Preschool; Exercise; Nutrition; Intervention; Education; Long-term