The effects of a middle-school healthy eating intervention on adolescents' fat and fruit intake and soft drinks consumption

Public Health Nutr. 2007 May;10(5):443-9. doi: 10.1017/S1368980007219652.


Objectives: To evaluate the effects of a middle-school healthy eating promotion intervention combining environmental changes and computer-tailored feedback, with and without an explicit parent involvement component.

Design: Clustered randomised controlled trial.

Setting: Fifteen West-Flemish (Belgian) middle schools.

Subjects: A random sample of 15 schools with 2991 pupils in 7th and 8th grades was randomly assigned to an intervention group with parental support (n = 5), an intervention group without parental support (n = 5) and a control group (n = 5). In these 15 schools an intervention combining environmental changes with computer-tailored feedback was implemented. Fat and fruit intake, water and soft drinks consumption were measured with food-frequency questionnaires in the total sample of children.

Results: In girls, fat intake and percentage of energy from fat decreased significantly more in the intervention group with parental support, compared with the intervention alone group (all F>3.9, P < 0.05) and the control group (all F>16.7, P < 0.001). In boys, there were no significant decreases in fat intake (F = 1.4, not significant (NS)) or percentage of energy from fat (F = 0.7, NS) as a result of the intervention. No intervention effects were found in boys or in girls for fruit (F = 0.5, NS), soft drinks (F = 2.6, NS) and water consumption (F = 0.3, NS).

Conclusions: Combining physical and social environmental changes with computer-tailored feedback in girls and their parents can induce lower fat intake in middle-school girls. However, to have an impact on the consumption of soft drinks and water, governmental laws that restrict the at-school availability of low-nutritive products may be necessary.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Nutritional Physiological Phenomena
  • Carbonated Beverages / statistics & numerical data*
  • Child
  • Child Nutrition Sciences / education*
  • Cluster Analysis
  • Dietary Fats / administration & dosage*
  • Drinking
  • Female
  • Fruit*
  • Health Promotion / methods
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Parents / education
  • Parents / psychology*
  • Schools*
  • Sex Factors
  • Water


  • Dietary Fats
  • Water