Students' beliefs and behaviour regarding low-calorie beverages, sweets or snacks: are they affected by lessons on healthy food and by changes to school vending machines?

Paul L Kocken, Nicole MC van Kesteren, Goof Buijs, Jeltje Snel, Elise Dusseldorp
2015 Public Health Nutrition  
AbstractObjectiveTo study the effects of school lessons about healthy food on adolescents' self-reported beliefs and behaviour regarding the purchase and consumption of soft drinks, water and extra foods, including sweets and snacks. The lessons were combined with the introduction of lower-calorie foods, food labelling and price reductions in school vending machines.DesignA cluster-randomized controlled design was used to allocate schools to an experimental group (i.e. lessons and changes to
more » ... s and changes to school vending machines) and a control group (i.e. 'care as usual'). Questionnaires were used pre-test and post-test to assess students' self-reported purchase of extra products and their knowledge and beliefs regarding the consumption of low-calorie products.SettingSecondary schools in the Netherlands.SubjectsTwelve schools participated in the experimental group (303 students) and fourteen in the control group (311 students). The students' mean age was 13·6 years, 71·5 % were of native Dutch origin and mean BMI was 18·9 kg/m2.ResultsAt post-test, the experimental group knew significantly more about healthy food than the control group. Fewer students in the experimental group (43 %) than in the control group (56 %) reported bringing soft drinks from home. There was no significant effect on attitude, social norm, perceived behavioural control and intention regarding the consumption of low-calorie extra products.ConclusionsThe intervention had limited effects on students' knowledge and self-reported behaviour, and no effect on their beliefs regarding low-calorie beverages, sweets or snacks. We recommend a combined educational and environmental intervention of longer duration and engaging parents. More research into the effects of such interventions is needed.
doi:10.1017/s1368980014002985 pmid:25591446 fatcat:ihkxe7utgvedrfbhiddwuhq5x4