School-based obesity prevention in Chilean primary school children: methodology and evaluation of a controlled study

Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord. 2004 Apr;28(4):483-93. doi: 10.1038/sj.ijo.0802611.


Objective: To assess the impact of a 6 months nutrition education and physical activity intervention on primary school children through changes in adiposity and physical fitness.

Design: Longitudinal school-based controlled evaluation study.

Subjects: Children from 1st to 8th grade, 2141 in intervention and 945 in control schools.

Intervention: Nutrition education for children and parents, 'healthier' kiosks, 90 min of additional physical activity (PA) weekly, behavioral PA program and active recess.

Measurements: Adiposity indices (BMI, BMI Z-score, triceps skinfold thickness (TSF), waist circumference and physical fitness (20 m shuttle run test and lower back flexibility).

Results: Positive effect on adiposity indices (except TSF) was observed in boys (P<0.001 for BMI Z), while both physical fitness parameters increased significantly in both boys (P<0.001 for each test) and girls (P<0.0001 for each test). A differential effect in BMI Z was observed according to baseline nutritional status.

Conclusions: This intervention showed a robust effect on physical fitness in both genders and decreased adiposity only in boys.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study
  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Anthropometry
  • Body Mass Index
  • Child
  • Child Nutrition Sciences / education
  • Chile
  • Diet
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Health Education / methods*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Obesity / prevention & control*
  • Physical Education and Training
  • Physical Fitness
  • Schools*