School food global hub

Latest evidence on impacts of school food environment and multicomponent interventions

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Journal: Nutrients

Year: 2022

Authors: Naroa Andueza; Santiago Navas-Carretero; Marta Cuervo

ABSTRACT

Dietary habits, that are formed during childhood and consolidated in adulthood, are known to influence the development of future chronic diseases such as metabolic syndrome or type 2 diabetes. The aim of this review was to evaluate the effectiveness of nutritional interventions carried out in recent years focused on improving the quality of the diet of the child population. A systematic search of the PubMed and Scopus databases was performed from January 2011 until September 2021. A total of 910 articles were identified and screened based on their title, abstract and full text. Finally, 12 articles were included in the current systematic review. Of those, in six studies the intervention was based on the provision of healthy meals and in the other six studies the intervention focused on modifying the school environment. Six of the studies selected included other components in their intervention such as nutritional education sessions, physical activity and/or families. A wide variety of methods were used for diet assessments, from direct method to questionnaires. The results suggest that interventions that modify the school environment or provide different meals or snacks may be effective in improving children's dietary patterns, both in the short and long term. Further research is necessary to evaluate the real effectiveness of strategies with multidisciplinary approach (nutritional sessions, physical activity and family's involvement).

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Journal: Nutrients

Year: 2022

Authors: Suladda Pongutta; Omotomilola Ajetunmobi; Calum Davey; Elaine Ferguson; Leesa Lin

ABSTRACT

This review aims to describe school nutrition interventions implemented in Asia and quantify their effects on school-aged children’s nutritional status.

We searched Web of Science, Embase, Ovid MEDLINE, Global Health, Econlit, APA PsycInfo, and Social Policy and Practice for English articles published from January 2000 to January 2021. We quantified the pooled effects of the interventions on the changes in body mass index (BMI) and body mass index z score (BAZ), overall and by type of intervention. In total, 28 articles were included for this review, of which 20 articles were multi-component interventions.

Twenty-seven articles were childhood obesity studies and were included for meta-analysis. Overall, school nutrition interventions reduced school-aged children’s BMI and BAZ. Multi-component interventions reduced the children’s BMI and BAZ, whereas physical activity interventions reduced only BMI and nutrition education did not change BMI or BAZ. Overweight/obesity reduction interventions provided a larger effect than prevention interventions. Parental involvement and a healthy food provision did not strengthen school nutrition interventions, which may be due to an inadequate degree of implementation.

These results suggested that school nutrition interventions should employ a holistic multi-component approach and ensure adequate stakeholder engagement as well as implementation to maximise the effects.

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Journal: Obesity Reviews

Year: 2021

Authors: Timothy Chambers, Alexa Segal, Franco Sassi

ABSTRACT

The global prevalence of children with overweight and obesity continues to rise. Obesity in childhood has dire long-term consequences on health, social and economic outcomes. Promising interventions using behavioural insights to address obesity in childhood have emerged. This systematic review examines the effectiveness and health equity implications of interventions using behavioural insights to improve children's diet-related outcomes. The search strategy included searches on six electronic databases, reference lists of previous systematic reviews and backward searching of all included studies. One-hundred and eight papers describing 137 interventions were included. Interventions using behavioural insights were effective at modifying children's diet-related outcomes in 74% of all included interventions. The most promising approaches involved using incentives, changing defaults and modifying the physical environment. Information provision alone was the least effective approach. Health equity implications were rarely analysed or discussed. There was limited evidence of the sustainability of interventions—both in relation to their overall effectiveness and cost-effectiveness. The limited evidence on health equity, long-term effectiveness and the cost-effectiveness of these interventions limit what can be inferred for policymakers. This review synthesises the use of behavioural insights to improve children's diet-related outcomes, which can be used to inform future interventions.

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Journal: Nutrients

Year: 2021

Authors: Kate M O'Brien; Courtney Barnes; Serene Yoong; Elizabeth Campbell; Rebecca Wyse; Tessa Delaney; Alison Brown; Fiona Stacey; Lynda Davies; Sasha Lorien; Rebecca K Hodder

ABSTRACT

Schools are identified as a key setting to influence children's and adolescents' healthy eating. This umbrella review synthesised evidence from systematic reviews of school-based nutrition interventions designed to improve dietary intake outcomes in children aged 6 to 18 years. We undertook a systematic search of six electronic databases and grey literature to identify relevant reviews of randomized controlled trials. The review findings were categorised for synthesis by intervention type according to the World Health Organisation Health Promoting Schools (HPS) framework domains: nutrition education; food environment; all three HPS framework domains; or other (not aligned to HPS framework domain). Thirteen systematic reviews were included. Overall, the findings suggest that school-based nutrition interventions, including nutrition education, food environment, those based on all three domains of the HPS framework, and eHealth interventions, can have a positive effect on some dietary outcomes, including fruit, fruit and vegetables combined, and fat intake. These results should be interpreted with caution, however, as the quality of the reviews was poor. Though these results support continued public health investment in school-based nutrition interventions to improve child dietary intake, the limitations of this umbrella review also highlight the need for a comprehensive and high quality systematic review of primary studies.

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Journal: Obesity Reviews

Year: 2021

Authors: Elisa Pineda; Josefina Bascunan; Franco Sassi

ABSTRACT

The food environment has a significant influence on dietary choices, and interventions designed to modify the food environment could contribute to the prevention of childhood obesity. Many interventions have been implemented at the school level, but effectiveness in addressing childhood obesity remains unclear.

We undertook a systematic review, a meta-analysis, and meta-regression analyses to assess the effectiveness of interventions on the food environment within and around schools to improve dietary intake and prevent childhood obesity. Estimates were pooled in a random-effects meta-analysis with stratification by anthropometric or dietary intake outcome. Risk of bias was formally assessed.

One hundred papers were included. Interventions had a significant and meaningful effect on adiposity (body mass index [BMI] z score, standard mean difference: −0.12, 95% confidence interval: 0.15, 0.10) and fruit consumption (portions per day, standard mean difference: +0.19, 95% confidence interval: 0.16, 0.22) but not on vegetable intake. Risk of bias assessment indicated that n = 43 (81%) of non-randomized controlled studies presented a high risk of bias in the study design by not accounting for a control. Attrition bias (n = 34, 79%) and low protection of potential contamination (n = 41, 95%) presented the highest risk of bias for randomized controlled trials.

Changes in the school food environment could improve children's dietary behavior and BMI, but policy actions are needed to improve surrounding school food environments to sustain healthy dietary intake and BMI.

 

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Journal: Current Developments in Nutrition

Year: 2020

Authors: Bianca Carducci; Christina Oh; Emily C Keats; Daniel E Roth; and Zulfiqar A Bhutta

ABSTRACT

Food environments may promote access to unhealthy foods, contributing to noncommunicable diseases in low- and middle- income countries (LMICs). This review assessed published evidence on the effects of food environment interventions on anthropometric (BMI and weight status) outcomes in school-aged children (5–9 y) and adolescents (10–19 y) (SACA) in LMICs.

We summarized randomized controlled trials (RCTs) and quasi-experimental studies (QES) published since 2000 to August 2019 in the peer-reviewed and gray literature that assessed the effects of food-related behavioral and environmental interventions on diet-related health outcomes in SACA in LMICs. Electronic databases (MEDLINE, Embase, PsycINFO, Cochrane Library) were searched using appropriate keywords, Medical Subject Headings, and free text terms.

Eleven RCTs and 6 QES met the inclusion criteria, testing multicomponent behavioral and environmental interventions in schools. Analysis of 6 RCTs (n = 17,054) suggested an overall effect on change in BMI [mean difference (MD): −0.11, 95% CI: −0.19 , −0.03], whereas there was no observed effect in 5 studies using endline BMI (n = 17,371) (MD: 0.05, 95% CI: −0.32, 0.21). There was no significant pooled effect among the 3 QES (n = 5,023) that reported differences in change in BMI or endline (MD: −0.37, 95% CI: −0.95, 0.22).

There is limited evidence to support the modification of diet-related health outcomes through school-based food environment interventions in SACA in LMICs. Further studies are needed to understand the impact of school and community-based food environment interventions on nutritional status in this population.

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Journal: Public Health Nutrition 

Year: 2020

AuthorsPaul Kyere; J Lennert Veerman; Patricia Lee; and Donald E Stewart

ABSTRACT

Objective: To evaluate the effect of school-based nutrition interventions (SBNI) involving schoolchildren and adolescents in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) on child nutrition status and nutrition-related knowledge, attitudes and behaviour.

Design: A systematic review on published school nutrition intervention studies of randomised controlled trials, controlled clinical trials, controlled before-and-after studies or quasi-experimental designs with control. Nine electronic bibliographic databases were searched. To be included, interventions had to involve changes to the school’s physical and social environments, to the school’s nutrition policies, to teaching curriculum to incorporate nutrition education and/or to partnership with parents/community.

Setting: Schools in SSA.

Participants: School-aged children and adolescents, aged 5–19 years.

Results: Fourteen studies met our inclusion criteria. While there are few existing studies of SBNI in SSA, the evidence shows that food supplementation/fortification is very effective in reducing micronutrient deficiencies and can improve nutrition status. Secondly, school nutrition education can improve nutrition knowledge, but this may not necessarily translate into healthy nutrition behaviour, indicating that nutrition knowledge may have little impact without a facilitating environment. Results regarding anthropometry were inconclusive; however, there is evidence for the effectiveness of SBNI in improving cognitive abilities.

Conclusions: There is enough evidence to warrant further trials of SBNI in SSA. Future research should consider investigating the impact of SBNI on anthropometry and nutrition behaviour, focusing on the role of programme intensity and/or duration. To address the high incidence of micronutrient deficiencies in low- and middle-income countries, food supplementation strategies currently available to schoolchildren should be expanded.

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Journal: Plos One

Year: 2018

Authors: Renata Micha; Dimitra Karageorgou; Ioanna Bakogianni; Eirini Trichia; Laurie P. Whitsel; Mary Story; Jose L. Peñalvo; Dariush Mozaffarian

ABSTRACT

Background: School food environment policies may be a critical tool to promote healthy diets in children, yet their effectiveness remains unclear.

Objective: To systematically review and quantify the impact of school food environment policies on dietary habits, adiposity, and metabolic risk in children.

Methods: We systematically searched online databases for randomized or quasi-experimental interventions assessing effects of school food environment policies on children's dietary habits, adiposity, or metabolic risk factors. Data were extracted independently and in duplicate, and pooled using inverse-variance random-effects meta-analysis. Habitual (within+outside school) dietary intakes were the primary outcome. Heterogeneity was explored using meta-regression and subgroup analysis. Funnel plots, Begg's and Egger's test evaluated potential publication bias.

Results: From 6,636 abstracts, 91 interventions (55 in US/Canada, 36 in Europe/New Zealand) were included, on direct provision of healthful foods/beverages (N = 39 studies), competitive food/beverage standards (N = 29), and school meal standards (N = 39) (some interventions assessed multiple policies). Direct provision policies, which largely targeted fruits and vegetables, increased consumption of fruits by 0.27 servings/d (n = 15 estimates (95%CI: 0.17, 0.36)) and combined fruits and vegetables by 0.28 servings/d (n = 16 (0.17, 0.40)); with a slight impact on vegetables (n = 11; 0.04 (0.01, 0.08)), and no effects on total calories (n = 6; -56 kcal/d (-174, 62)). In interventions targeting water, habitual intake was unchanged (n = 3; 0.33 glasses/d (-0.27, 0.93)). Competitive food/beverage standards reduced sugar-sweetened beverage intake by 0.18 servings/d (n = 3 (-0.31, -0.05)); and unhealthy snacks by 0.17 servings/d (n = 2 (-0.22, -0.13)), without effects on total calories (n = 5; -79 kcal/d (-179, 21)). School meal standards (mainly lunch) increased fruit intake (n = 2; 0.76 servings/d (0.37, 1.16)) and reduced total fat (-1.49%energy; n = 6 (-2.42, -0.57)), saturated fat (n = 4; -0.93%energy (-1.15, -0.70)) and sodium (n = 4; -170 mg/d (-242, -98)); but not total calories (n = 8; -38 kcal/d (-137, 62)). In 17 studies evaluating adiposity, significant decreases were generally not identified; few studies assessed metabolic factors (blood lipids/glucose/pressure), with mixed findings. Significant sources of heterogeneity or publication bias were not identified.

Conclusions: Specific school food environment policies can improve targeted dietary behaviors; effects on adiposity and metabolic risk require further investigation. These findings inform ongoing policy discussions and debates on best practices to improve childhood dietary habits and health.