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ISRN Obesity
Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 752081, 10 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2013/752081
Research Article

Changes in Primary School Children's Behaviour, Knowledge, Attitudes, and Environments Related to Nutrition and Physical Activity

1Nutrition and Dietetics, Flinders University of South Australia, GPO Box 2100, Adelaide, SA 5001, Australia
2Jack Brockhoff Child Health and Wellbeing Program, McCaughey VicHealth Centre for Community Wellbeing, Melbourne School of Population Health, University of Melbourne, 207 Bouverie Street, Carlton, VIC 3053, Australia
3Discipline of Public Health, Flinders University of South Australia, GPO Box 2100, Adelaide, SA 5001, Australia
4Health Promotion Branch, Department of Health, SA Health, P.O. Box 287 Rundle Mall, Adelaide, SA 5000, Australia

Received 31 December 2012; Accepted 17 February 2013

Academic Editors: O. M. S. Amancio, D. Micic, J. Saleh, and S. Weitzman

Copyright © 2013 Anthea Margaret Magarey et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Rigorous evaluation of large-scale community-based obesity interventions can provide important guidance to policy and decision makers. The eat well be active (ewba) Community Programs, a five-year multilevel, multistrategy community-based obesity intervention targeting children in a range of settings, was delivered in two communities. A comprehensive mixed-methods evaluation using a quasiexperimental design with nonmatched comparison communities was undertaken. This paper describes the changes in primary school children's attitudes, behaviours, knowledge, and environments associated with healthy eating and physical activity, based on data from six questionnaires completed pre- and postintervention by students, parents, and school representatives. As self-reported by students in years from five to seven there were few significant improvements over time in healthy eating and physical activity behaviours, attitudes, knowledge, and perceived environments, and there were few changes in the home environment (parent report). Overall there were considerably more improvements in intervention compared with comparison schools affecting all environmental areas, namely, policy, physical, financial, and sociocultural, in addition to improvements in teacher skill and knowledge. These improvements in children's learning environments are important and likely to be sustainable as they reflect a change of school culture. More sensitive evaluation tools may detect behaviour changes.