Special Issue "Interventions to Enhance Physical Activity and Nutrition in Children"

A special issue of International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (ISSN 1660-4601). This special issue belongs to the section "Global Health".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 28 February 2021.

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Scott Duncan
Website
Guest Editor
Human Potential Centre, School of Sport and Recreation, Auckland University of Technology, Private Bag 92006, Auckland 1142, New Zealand
Interests: Physical activity and sedentary behaviour assessment, risk and play in children, environmental determinants of health and wellbeing, quantitative research design and analysis
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Dr. Thomas Stewart
Website
Guest Editor
Human Potential Centre, School of Sport and Recreation, Auckland University of Technology, Private Bag 92006, Auckland 1142, New Zealand
Interests: time-use epidemiology; physical activity measurement; application of data science in public health research; environmental determinants of behaviour
Prof. Rachael Taylor
Website
Guest Editor
Edgar Diabetes and Obesity Research, Department of Medicine, University of Otago, PO Box 56, Dunedin 9054, New Zealand
Interests: Diet and nutrition, physical activity and sleep research, child obesity, public health interventions

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Regular physical activity and good nutrition are fundamental to children’s health and wellbeing; however, the modern environments in which many of us live can make it difficult for children and their families to maintain healthy lifestyles. Designing and testing new ways to enhance physical activity and nutrition in children is therefore essential if we are to provide the next generation with the best possible start in life.

This Special Issue seeks papers describing interventions and initiatives designed to encourage physical activity (including active play), reduce sedentary behavior, and/or promote healthy eating in children. Priority will be given to new and innovative approaches to engage children and their caregivers in home, community, and/or educational environments. We also welcome high-quality systematic reviews and meta-analyses. We hope that this Special Issue provides an important forum to share the best ideas and research practices related to physical activity and nutrition in children.

Assoc. Prof. Scott Duncan
Dr. Thomas Stewart
Prof. Rachael Taylor
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2300 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Physical activity
  • Active play
  • Sedentary behavior
  • Nutrition
  • Diet
  • Interventions
  • Children
  • Health promotion

Published Papers (7 papers)

Order results
Result details
Select all
Export citation of selected articles as:

Research

Jump to: Review

Open AccessArticle
The Impact of a Multi-Pronged Intervention on Students’ Perceptions of School Lunch Quality and Convenience and Self-Reported Fruit and Vegetable Consumption
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(16), 5987; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17165987 - 18 Aug 2020
Abstract
School lunch programs provide an opportunity to improve students’ diets. We sought to determine the impact of a multifaceted intervention (cafeteria redesigns, increased points-of-sale and teacher education) on secondary students’ perceptions of school-lunch quality and convenience and fruit and vegetable intake. Surveys ( [...] Read more.
School lunch programs provide an opportunity to improve students’ diets. We sought to determine the impact of a multifaceted intervention (cafeteria redesigns, increased points-of-sale and teacher education) on secondary students’ perceptions of school-lunch quality and convenience and fruit and vegetable intake. Surveys (n = 12,827) from middle and high school students in 12 intervention and 11 control schools were analyzed. We investigated change in school-lunch perceptions and lunchtime and daily fruit and vegetable consumption from 2016 to 2018. Among 8th graders, perceptions that school lunch tastes good and that school lunch was enough to make students feel full increased 0.2 points (on a 5-point scale; p < 0.01) in intervention schools relative to control schools. Among 10th graders, lunchtime fruit and vegetable consumption increased 6% in intervention relative to control schools (p < 0.05 and p < 0.01 respectively). Daily fruit intake increased 0.1 cups/day in intervention relative to control schools among 9th graders (p < 0.01). This study provides important evidence on the limited effect of design approaches in the absence of meal changes. We observed only modest changes in school lunch perceptions and fruit and vegetable consumption that were not consistent across grades, suggesting that additional efforts are needed to improve school-lunch uptake. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Interventions to Enhance Physical Activity and Nutrition in Children)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Effects of a Physical Activity Program Potentiated with ICTs on the Formation and Dissolution of Friendship Networks of Children in a Middle-Income Country
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(16), 5796; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17165796 - 11 Aug 2020
Abstract
This paper assesses the potential cohesion effect of a physical activity (PA) school-based intervention potentiated using text messages (SMS) through analyzing longitudinally the friendship network structure and the mechanisms of the formation and dissolution of friendships. Three schools (n = 125 participants) [...] Read more.
This paper assesses the potential cohesion effect of a physical activity (PA) school-based intervention potentiated using text messages (SMS) through analyzing longitudinally the friendship network structure and the mechanisms of the formation and dissolution of friendships. Three schools (n = 125 participants) in Bogotá, Colombia, were randomly assigned into three groups: Modulo Activo Recreo Activo (MARA) + SMS (networks 1 and 2), MARA (networks 3 and 4), and control (no intervention: networks 5–7). We collected socio-economic, health-related, network structure, and intervention satisfaction variables in the baseline and after 10 weeks on July–November 2013. For each classroom network, we conducted four models using a temporal and static network approach to assess (1) temporal social network changes, (2) friendship homophily, (3) friendship formation and dissolution mechanisms, and (4) effect of SMS on the networks’ cohesion. We found that (1) social cohesion emerged in the four intervened networks that were measured over time with transitivity and homophily driven by clustering, (2) the intervention affected the mechanisms of friendship formation and dissolution, and (3) MARA + SMS on average created more social cohesion and 3.8 more friendships than the program alone. Potentially, school-based interventions with information and communication technologies (ICT) such as MARA + SMS could encourage social cohesion among children. The particular characteristics of each school network need to be considered when developing school-based interventions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Interventions to Enhance Physical Activity and Nutrition in Children)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Evaluating the Implementation and Effectiveness of the SWITCH–MS: An Ecological, Multi-Component Adolescent Obesity Prevention Intervention
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(15), 5401; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17155401 - 27 Jul 2020
Abstract
Background: The purpose of this study was to evaluate the implementation and effectiveness of an ecological, multi-component adolescent obesity prevention intervention called School Wellness Integration Targeting Child Health–Middle School (SWITCH–MS). Methods: Following the effectiveness-implementation hybrid type 3 quasi-experimental design, seven middle [...] Read more.
Background: The purpose of this study was to evaluate the implementation and effectiveness of an ecological, multi-component adolescent obesity prevention intervention called School Wellness Integration Targeting Child Health–Middle School (SWITCH–MS). Methods: Following the effectiveness-implementation hybrid type 3 quasi-experimental design, seven middle schools (377 students) in Iowa, United States, were stratified into “experienced” (n = 3; 110 students) or “inexperienced” (n = 4; 267 students) groups to receive the 12-week SWITCH–MS intervention. To evaluate implementation, school informants (n = 10) responded to a survey and students completed behavioral tracking in the classroom on a website. For effectiveness evaluation, students in 6th, 7th, and 8th grades completed a validated questionnaire before and after intervention, to measure behaviors of physical activity (PA; “Do”), screen-based activity (“View”), and fruits and vegetable consumption (“Chew”). Results: The two groups of schools showed similar levels of implementation for best practices, awareness, and engagement. Behavioral tracking rate favored the experienced schools early on (47.5% vs. 11.7%), but differences leveled off in weeks 3–12 (sustained at 30.1–44.3%). Linear mixed models demonstrated significant time effects for “Do” (at school and out of school; p < 0.01) and “View” behaviors (p = 0.02), after controlling for student- and school-level covariates. Conclusions: This study demonstrates that prior experience with SWITCH–MS may not be a prominent factor for implementation and effectiveness, although greater experience is associated with favorable behavioral tracking when the intervention is first launched. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Interventions to Enhance Physical Activity and Nutrition in Children)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Involving Parents to Help Improve Children’s Energy Balance-Related Behaviours Through a School-Based Intervention
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(13), 4838; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17134838 - 05 Jul 2020
Abstract
The Challenge Me intervention aimed to indirectly involve parents in a school-based intervention, by challenging primary school children to perform physical activity (PA) and nutrition-related activities with their parents. The aim of this study is to gain insight in whether this was a [...] Read more.
The Challenge Me intervention aimed to indirectly involve parents in a school-based intervention, by challenging primary school children to perform physical activity (PA) and nutrition-related activities with their parents. The aim of this study is to gain insight in whether this was a feasible strategy to engage children and parents, especially those of vulnerable populations. An exploratory cross-sectional study design was applied. Four primary schools implemented the intervention. Data consisted of challenges completed (intervention posters) and child and family characteristics (questionnaires and anthropometric measurements). Associations between challenges performed and child and family characteristics were assessed using linear regression analysis. Of the 226 study participants, 100% performed at least one challenge, and 93% performed at least one challenge involving parents. Children who performed more PA challenges were often younger, a sports club member, lived in higher socioeconomic status neighbourhoods, of Western ethnicity and from larger families. Regarding nutrition challenges involving parents, younger children performed more challenges. There was no difference in intervention engagement regarding gender, weight status, PA preference, healthy nutrition preference, or the Family PA and Family Nutrition Climate. Challenge Me has potential in involving parents in a school-based intervention. However, certain characteristics were associated with higher involvement. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Interventions to Enhance Physical Activity and Nutrition in Children)
Show Figures

Figure A1

Open AccessArticle
Process Evaluation of a School-Based Program Aimed at Preventing Obesity in Adolescents from Lima and Callao, Peru
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(13), 4804; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17134804 - 03 Jul 2020
Abstract
The study aims to describe process evaluation measures of the three-year Health Promoting Schools’ obesity prevention program in Lima and Callao, Peru, and to assess factors that influenced the implementation of the intervention leading to the mentioned process outcomes results. The program was [...] Read more.
The study aims to describe process evaluation measures of the three-year Health Promoting Schools’ obesity prevention program in Lima and Callao, Peru, and to assess factors that influenced the implementation of the intervention leading to the mentioned process outcomes results. The program was implemented in four public high schools located in low-income areas of Lima and Callao. Embedded in a Health Promoting School Intervention, the program consisted of two main components—an education program and several environmental activities. Quantitative data were collected and analyzed based on dose delivered and reach for each specific activity. Dose received was analyzed by satisfaction scores related to six specific activities. Furthermore, qualitative data including documentation of activities and transcriptions from individual in-depth interviews were qualitatively analyzed to identify factors influencing the implementation. The education component of the Health Promoting Schools’ program achieved a 78.4% average nutrition sessions delivery in 2015 and 88.0% in 2017; while for PA sessions, the average delivery in 2015 was of 79.7% and 93.8% in 2017. In the case of reach, at least 75% of total students participated in all sessions per year. Nevertheless, there were differences in terms of delivery and participation in a number of environmental activities within and between schools during the program period. Differences in delivery included education sessions for parents, teachers, Junior Health Promoters, and school food kiosk staff, besides execution of physical activity events every year. Impeding factors included the complexity of the overall intervention, limited strategies to facilitate program implementation and those to maintain the participation of subjects, and related contextual factors. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Interventions to Enhance Physical Activity and Nutrition in Children)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Changes in Lifestyle Habits among Adolescent Girls after FitSpirit Participation
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(12), 4388; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17124388 - 18 Jun 2020
Cited by 2
Abstract
Adolescence is a crucial time in the development and maintenance of lifestyle habits. Interventions to improve health-related behaviors are important, including those that can contribute to an increase in physical activity (PA). During adolescence, PA typically decreases with age, particularly in girls. The [...] Read more.
Adolescence is a crucial time in the development and maintenance of lifestyle habits. Interventions to improve health-related behaviors are important, including those that can contribute to an increase in physical activity (PA). During adolescence, PA typically decreases with age, particularly in girls. The FitSpirit program offers services that help Canadian schools from Quebec and Ontario implement PA interventions for adolescent girls. This study aimed to evaluate changes in participants’ PA levels and lifestyle habits (sedentary time, sleep duration and eating habits) and to assess whether these changes depended on adherence to the Canadian 24-Hour Movement Guidelines and Canada’s Food Guide recommendations at enrollment. At the time of FitSpirit registration (between December 2018 and March 2019) and in May/June 2019, 73 participants answered online questionnaires. The participants reported improvements, with an increase in the number of days with PA and a decrease in daily consumption of sweets. The greatest changes were observed in those who did not adhere to the Canadian recommendations before enrollment and who significantly increased their number of days with PA and their consumption of fruits and vegetables, and decreased their screen time. In conclusion, participation in FitSpirit improved several health behaviors among adolescent girls, particularly those who did not comply with the Canadian recommendations at enrollment. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Interventions to Enhance Physical Activity and Nutrition in Children)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Review

Jump to: Research

Open AccessReview
High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) Improves Cardiorespiratory Fitness (CRF) in Healthy, Overweight and Obese Adolescents: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Controlled Studies
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(8), 2955; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17082955 - 24 Apr 2020
Abstract
Background: High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is a sustainable and effective method for improving Cardiorespiratory Fitness (CRF) in adolescents. HIIT is proven to produce equal or greater improvements in CRF when compared to moderate intensity continuous exercise (MICE) in adolescents. Methods: [...] Read more.
Background: High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is a sustainable and effective method for improving Cardiorespiratory Fitness (CRF) in adolescents. HIIT is proven to produce equal or greater improvements in CRF when compared to moderate intensity continuous exercise (MICE) in adolescents. Methods: The studies included were considered eligible if: (1) Participants were adolescents (11–18 years old); (2) Examined changes in CRF measured either directly or indirectly; (3) Included a non-exercising control group or MICE comparison group; (4) Participants were matched at enrolment; (5) Reported HIIT protocol information; (6) Provided HIIT intensity. A meta-analysis was conducted to determine the effect of HIIT on CRF. Meta-regression and moderator analyses were performed out to quantitatively examine moderators of protocol design on CRF improvements. Results: HIIT displays a moderate effect to improve CRF (g = 0.86, 95% CI 0.518–1.106, p < 0.001). Neither study duration (weeks), nor total or weekly accumulated HIIT volume (min) displayed any significant moderation effect on pooled improvement on CRF (p > 0.05). Conclusions: HIIT is an effective method to improve CRF in adolescents, irrespective of body composition. Notably, meta regression analysis identified that prolonged high volume HIIT programs are similarly effective to short term low volume HIIT programs. This becomes of particular interest for those involved in school curricula, where short HIIT exercise may provide a pragmatic adjunct to the health benefits of Physical Education (PE) lessons. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Interventions to Enhance Physical Activity and Nutrition in Children)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Back to TopTop