Tooty Fruity Vegie: an obesity prevention intervention evaluation in Australian preschools

Zask, Avigdor; Adams, Jillian Kaye; Brooks, Lyndon Owen; Hughes, Denise Frances
April 2012
Health Promotion Journal of Australia;Apr2012, Vol. 23 Issue 1, p10
Academic Journal
Issues addressed: This paper presents the findings from a cluster randomised controlled evaluation of a preschool-based intervention (children aged 3-6 years), on the North Coast of NSW, which aimed to decrease overweight and obesity prevalence among children by improving fundamental movement skills (FMS), increasing fruit and vegetable intake and decreasing unhealthy food consumption. Methods: The Tooty Fruity Vegie in Preschools program was implemented in 18 preschools for 10 months during 2006 and 2007. It included nutrition and physical activity strategies. Pre and post intervention evaluation compared intervention and control children and was conducted at the beginning and end of each year. It included FMS testing, lunch box audits and anthropometric measures of children as well as parents' surveys regarding children's food intake, physical activity and sedentary behaviours. Results: In comparison to controls, children in intervention preschools significantly improved movement skills (14.79 units, p<0.001), had more fruit and vegetable serves (0.63 serves, p=0.001) and were less likely to have unhealthy food items (p<0.001) in their lunch boxes following the intervention. There was also a significant difference in waist circumference growth (-0.80 cm, p=0.002) and a reduction of BMI Z scores (-0.15, p=0.022). Conclusions: The 10-month intervention in preschools produced significant changes in children's food intake, movement skills and indicators of weight status.


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