The effects of a nutrition education program, led by trained teachers within the Italian School Fruit Scheme, were evaluated. Pre-post intervention children's adherence to the Mediterranean diet (MD) was assessed by the KIDMED test. A representative cluster sample of 494 fourth grade students from thirteen Italian schools in the three areas of low (North), medium (Centre) and high (South) prevalence of overweight and obesity was investigated. Within the same schools, the intervention group (n = 395) received the program, the control group (n = 99) did not. In the intervention group, the proportion of children with high adherence to the MD significantly increased in the total sample, females and South in the post-intervention; no significant changes in levels of adherence related to ponderal status were detected. A significant increase was found, particularly, in the proportion of children who improved their frequency of consumption of fruit and vegetables (FV) daily, especially in the South.
Keywords: KIDMED test; Mediterranean diet; School Fruit Scheme; nutrition education; teachers’ training.