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Open AccessArticle

Impact of a Pilot School-Based Nutrition Intervention on Dietary Knowledge, Attitudes, Behavior and Nutritional Status of Syrian Refugee Children in the Bekaa, Lebanon

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Department of Nutrition and Food Sciences, Faculty of Agriculture and Food Sciences, American University of Beirut, P.O. Box 11-0.236, Riad El Solh, Beirut 11072020, Lebanon
2
Environment and Sustainable Development Unit, Faculty of Agriculture and Food Sciences, American University of Beirut, P.O. Box 11-0.236, Riad El Solh, Beirut 11072020, Lebanon
3
Refugee Health Program, Global Health Institute, American University of Beirut, Beirut 11072020, Lebanon
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Nutrients 2018, 10(7), 913; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu10070913
Received: 24 May 2018 / Revised: 10 July 2018 / Accepted: 13 July 2018 / Published: 17 July 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nutrition and Vulnerable Groups)
This study evaluated the impact of a 6-month school nutrition intervention on changes in dietary knowledge, attitude, behavior (KAB) and nutritional status of Syrian refugee children. A quasi-experimental design was followed; Syrian refuge children in grades 4 to 6 were recruited from three informal primary schools (two intervention and one control) located in the rural Bekaa region of Lebanon. The intervention consisted of two main components: classroom-based education sessions and provision of locally-prepared healthy snacks. Data on household socio-demographic characteristics, KAB, anthropometric measures and dietary intake of children were collected by trained field workers at baseline and post-intervention. Of the 296 school children enrolled, 203 (68.6%) completed post-intervention measures. Significant increases in dietary knowledge (β = 1.22, 95% CI: 0.54, 1.89), attitude (β = 0.69, 95% CI: 0.08, 1.30), and body mass index-for-age-z-scores (β = 0.25, 95% CI = 0.10, 0.41) were observed among intervention vs. control groups, adjusting for covariates (p < 0.05). Compared to the control, the intervention group had, on average, significantly larger increases in daily intakes of total energy, dietary fiber, protein, saturated fat, and several key micronutrients, p < 0.05. Findings suggest a positive impact of this school-based nutrition intervention on dietary knowledge, attitude, and nutritional status of Syrian refugee children. Further studies are needed to test the feasibility and long-term impact of scaling-up such interventions. View Full-Text
Keywords: nutrition; knowledge; refugees; children; school intervention; Lebanon nutrition; knowledge; refugees; children; school intervention; Lebanon
MDPI and ACS Style

El Harake, M.D.; Kharroubi, S.; Hamadeh, S.K.; Jomaa, L. Impact of a Pilot School-Based Nutrition Intervention on Dietary Knowledge, Attitudes, Behavior and Nutritional Status of Syrian Refugee Children in the Bekaa, Lebanon. Nutrients 2018, 10, 913.

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