Implementing a health promotion program for children is a complex endeavor. In this review, we outline the key lessons learned over 10 years of experience in implementing the SI! Program (Salud Integral-Comprehensive Health) for cardiovascular health promotion in preschool settings in 3 countries: Colombia (Bogotá), Spain (Madrid), and the United States (Harlem, New York). By matching rigorous efficacy studies with implementation science, we can help bridge the divide between science and educational practice. Achieving sustained lifestyle changes in preschool children through health promotion programs is likely to require the integration of several factors: 1) multidisciplinary teams; 2) multidimensional educational programs; 3) multilevel interventions; 4) local program coordination and community engagement; and 5) scientific evaluation through randomized controlled trials. Implementation of effective health promotion interventions early in life may induce long-lasting healthy behaviors that could help to curb the cardiovascular disease epidemic.
Keywords: cardiovascular disease; child; health promotion; implementation science; lifestyle; prevention.
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