Efectividad de una intervención en educación alimentaria y actividad física para prevenir obesidad en escolares de la ciudad de Casablanca, Chile (2003-2004)
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Background: With the aim of contributing to be Healthy Goal 2010 of reducing significantly the prevalence of childhood obestiy, we developed and implemented during 2003 and 2004, a school-based obesity prevention intervention which included nutrition education and the promotion of physical activity. Aim: To report the results of the intervention. Material and methods: The sample included 1760 children (1(st) to 7(th) grade) from 3 elementary public schools in Casablanca (experimental group) and 671 from a similar school located in Quillota, a neighboring city (control). Primary outcomes were body mass index (BMI) Z score, the mile and shuttle-run tests and obesity prevalence. We also compared changes in waist circumference and triceps skinfold between both groups. Effectiveness of the intervention was assessed by analyzing separately the group *age* time interaction for the first 3 outcomes (follow-up-baseline), using a mixed model of covariance and by comparing variations in obesity prevalence between both groups. Results: There was a significant decline in BMI Z scores in experimental schools for both genders, but greater in boys (p<0.001 versus p = 0.0034 in girls), while in controls, BMI Z scores increased. Obesity prevalence declined significantly in experimental schools; from 17 to 12.3% and from 14.1 to 10.3% in boys and girls respectively, while in the control group, it remained unchanged. Also, triceps skinfold in girls from Casablanca increased significantly less than that of control girls. Conclusion: This intervention proved that it is possible to reduce significantly the prevalence of obesity in Chilean schoolchildren attending public elementary schools.