An intervention for improving the lifestyle habits of kindergarten children in Israel: a cluster-randomised controlled trial investigation

Public Health Nutr. 2015 Jun;18(9):1537-44. doi: 10.1017/S136898001400024X. Epub 2014 Mar 12.


Objective: To assess the effectiveness of an intervention programme to improve kindergarten children's eating and leisure habits in Israel.

Design: A cluster-randomised controlled trial.

Setting: Six full-day kindergartens in Israel were randomly divided into three groups. Group A received the full intervention programme, which included lessons on good eating habits and daily physical exercise. Group B received a partial intervention of lessons only. Group C, the reference group, did not receive any intervention.

Subjects: Children aged 4-6 years (n 204) were recruited for the study.

Methods: Objective data for weight and height were collected to calculate BMI Z-scores. Activity, sedentary time, sleeping hours and daily energy intake were assessed via a parental questionnaire. Nutritional knowledge was assessed by a single dietitian using a questionnaire addressed to the children. Assessments were done at baseline and at the end of the intervention.

Results: After adjustment for baseline levels we observed a significant reduction in daily energy intake for the full intervention group A (P = 0.03). A positive intervention effect was demonstrated on nutritional knowledge in the partial intervention group B (P = 0.03), although no significant change was demonstrated for BMI Z-score.

Conclusions: The study supports the incorporation of education on healthy lifestyle habits and physical activity into the curricula of kindergartens.

Keywords: Kindergarten; Nutrition; Obesity; Physical activity.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Anthropometry
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Energy Intake
  • Exercise*
  • Feeding Behavior*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Israel
  • Life Style*
  • Male
  • Sleep
  • Surveys and Questionnaires