Effects of a school-based intervention on physical activity, sleep duration, screen time, and diet in children



Published 19-01-2023
Miguel Ángel Tapia-Serrano Javier Sevil-Serrano David Sánchez-Oliva Mikel Vaquero-Solís Pedro Antonio Sánchez-Miguel


Multiple health-risk behaviors such as physical inactivity, sedentary behaviors or unhealthy diet represent a public health problem among adolescents. The aim of this study is to examine the effects of a school-based intervention on 24-hour movement behaviors (i.e., physical activity, screen-based behaviors, and sleep), Mediterranean diet, and self-rated health status. A quasi-experimental design has been carried out for two months and a half in a sample of 121 children, aged 8-9 years (M = 9.01 ± .09 years old; 47.11% girls), from two elementary schools. Sixty-six students from one of the schools has been assigned to the control group and 55 students from the other school has been included in the experimental group. In the experimental group, ten one-hour weekly sessions about knowledge, awareness, and practices of health-related behaviors have been implemented by a research group member through the tutorial action plan. 24-hour movement behaviors, Mediterranean diet, and self-rated health status has been measured before and after the school-based intervention using self-reported questionnaires. Experimental group children show a significant increase in adherence to the Mediterranean diet and being physically active during the weekdays compared to their baseline values. Moreover, the greater baseline values in the adherence to the Mediterranean diet, as well as being physically active during weekend days in the control group, disappear between both groups after the intervention. Ten one-hour sessions of a school-based intervention conducted through the tutorial action plan seem effective in improving children's adherence to the Mediterranean diet and the proportion of active children, but not other health-related behaviors.

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