Education and activity-based intervention in Grade 4 learners at primary schools in the Western Cape Province, South Africa

Jacobs, Kenneth L (2010-12)

Thesis (MMed)--Stellenbosch University, 2010.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Introduction The development and implementation of education intervention programmes focusing on physical activity and nutrition is key to addressing the concern of the increase in diseases of lifestyle globally, and more specifically in South Africa. Of particular concern is the increase in childhood and adolescent obesity. There is a need for interventions focusing on translating good physical activity and nutrition knowledge into healthy behaviours. Additionally of importance is the development of controlled studies to evaluate whether these programmes have the desired improvement in health outcomes. This study is an attempt at evaluating the Making The Difference Programme (MTDP), an education and activity-based intervention in Grade 4 learners at primary schools in the Western Cape of South-Africa. Methods This is a cross-sectional observational study involving Western Cape primary schools during the 2009 school year. Schools were randomly sampled from two regions. Four intervention (active) and five control (non-participating) schools (N = 325 learners) were selected and a questionnaire named HealthKick was administered to the learners at the selected schools to determine quantitatively whether the MTDP changed the learners’ knowledge, attitude and behavior towards nutrition and physical activity. Results A small significant improvement was demonstrated on 2 nutritional behaviours in the intervention group– eating vegetables and taking lunch boxes to school. However, these are not explained by differences in nutritional barriers, self efficacy or knowledge which were not different between the groups, or by social support which was actually significantly higher in the control group. Groups displayed no difference both in terms in physical activity or sedentary behavior (sitting in front of TV or computer). However results did show a significant difference between the groups in terms of reduced barriers to physical activity and increased self efficacy in the active group. Conclusion The MTD programme did not make a substantial impact on the nutrition and physical activity outcomes of the learners. There is more evidence of an impact on physical activity, than on nutrition. Further research is required to assess to make a definitive evaluation.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Nie beskikbaar nie.

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