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Effectiveness of a diet and physical activity promotion strategy on the prevention of obesity in Mexican school children

Teresa Shamah Levy13*, Carmen Morales Ruán13, Claudia Amaya Castellanos13, Araceli Salazar Coronel13, Alejandra Jiménez Aguilar13 and Ignacio Méndez Gómez Humarán2

Author Affiliations

1 Nutrition Monitoring, Center for Research in Nutrition and Health, National Institute of Public Health, Morelos, Mexico

2 Center for Research in Mathematics, AC, Aguascalientes, Mexico

3 National Institute of Public Health, Av. Universidad # 655, Col. Sta. Ma. Ahuacatitlán, Cuernavaca, Morelos, Mexico 62100 C.P

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BMC Public Health 2012, 12:152  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-12-152

Published: 1 March 2012



Overweight and obesity in children in Mexico was among the countries with the highest prevalence's in the world. Mexico currently has few innovative and comprehensive experiences to help curb the growth of this serious public health problem. Therefore, the aim of this study is to assess the effectiveness of a nutrition and physical activity strategy, called "Nutrition on the Go" ("nutrición en movimiento") in maintaining the BMI values of school children in the State of Mexico.


A two-stage cluster trial was carried out. Sixty schools were selected in the State of Mexico, of which 30 were randomly assigned to the intervention group (IG) and 30 to the control group (CG). A total of 1020 fifth grade school children participated. The intervention strategy aimed to decrease the energy content of school breakfasts and include fruits and vegetables, as well as increase physical activity and the consumption of water during the time spent at school. The strategy was implemented over a 6-month period.


The estimated probability (EP) of obesity between baseline and the final stage for the IG decreased 1% (Initial EP = 11.8%, 95%CI 9.0, 15.2, final EP = 10.8, 95%CI 8.4, 13.) For the CG, the probability increased 0.9% (baseline EP = 10.6%; 95%CI 8.1, 13.7; final EP = 11.5, 95%CI 9.0, 14.6). The interaction between the intervention and the stage is the average odd time corrected treatment effect, which is statistically significant (p = 0.01) (OR = 0.68, 95%CI 0.52, 091).

This represents the interaction between intervention and stage, which is highly significant (p = 0.01) (OR = 0.68; 95%CI 0.52, 091). In addition, girls had a protective effect on obesity (OR = 0.56; 95%CI 0.39, 0.80).


The intervention strategy is effective in maintaining the BMI of school children.

Obesity; Scholars; Effectiveness; Mexico; Eating; Physical activity