African Health Sciences

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Long term effect of a school based intervention to prevent chronic diseases in Tunisia, 2009-2015

Rim Ghammam, Jihen Maatoug, Nawel Zammit, Raoudha Kebaili, Lamia Boughammoura, Mustafa Al’Absi, Harry Lando, Hassen Ghannem


Background & Objectives: We aimed to evaluate the long term effect of school based intervention to prevent non- communicable disease risk factors.
Methods: It was a quasi experimental study conducted during the period of 2009-2015. We involved school children aged from 11 to 16 years old. For the assessment of the program’s effectiveness, subjects in both groups were examined at baseline, at the end of the 3-year intervention period and at the follow-up, one year after program’s cessation.
Results: In the intervention group, the prevalence of school children who reported to be eating 5 fruits and vegetable sdaily increased significantly from 30.0% at pre-assessment to 33.2% at post-assessment, one year after (p=0.02, p=0.41 respectively). For the control group, this prevalence had significantly decreased from 40.2% at baseline to 35.0% at post-intervention, at the follow up, this proportion increased to 44.5%(p=0.001, p<10-3 respectively). Concerning smoking habits, we observed a decreasing trend in the intervention group from 5.7% at pre-assessment, to 4.8% at post-assessment and to 3.4% at the follow-up (p=0.19 and p=0.25 respectively). There was also a significant decrease in school children who did recommended physical activity in the same group.
Conclusion: The present work showed that interventions promoting healthy lifestyles should be maintained. Developing countries should be encouraged and supported to design, conduct, and evaluate robust preventive interventions.

Keywords: Schools, lifestyle, intervention.
AJOL African Journals Online