Abstract 20673: Evaluation of an Intervention to Promote Healthy Heart Habits in Preschool Children: A Cluster Randomized Trial
Background: Increased levels of risk factors during childhood create an important life-long burden that favors the development of cardiovascular disease (CVD) in adulthood. It is unknown whether interventions targeting children at very early ages may change knowledge, attitudes and habits (KAH) towards healthy lifestyles and eventually reduce CVD burden.
Methods: We conducted a cluster, randomized, controlled trial in 1216 children 3 to 5 years of age, 928 parents and 120 teachers from 14 preschool facilities in Bogotá, Colombia. Randomization occurred at the facility level. The intervention included classroom activities and use of printed material (books, posters, teacher's guides, games) and videos. Children in the control facilities continued with their usual curriculum. A structured survey was used at baseline and at 6-months to evaluate changes in KAH based on a 100 unit scale. Change in children's total weighted scores (TWS) was the primary outcome and the secondary outcome was the change in parents and teachers′ TWS.
Results: After controlling for the cluster effect, children in the intervention group had significant improvement compared to the control group in TWS (3.90 units; p < 0.001), particularly in attitudes (8.47 units; p < 0.001). In addition, there were similar trends between the two study groups in teachers with respect to TWS (5.36 units; p = 0.063), with significant differences in attitudes (6.12 units; p = 0.011), and habits (5.28 units; p = 0.0495). In parents, significant differences were observed between the two study groups with TWS (4.08; p < 0.001), with significant differences in knowledge (4.05 units; 95% CI, 1.64 - 6.46; p <0.001), and attitudes (2.83; p < 0.001).
Conclusions: Despite the relatively short duration of this intervention, results suggest that a preschool based intervention aimed at changing KAH related to healthy diet and active lifestyle, seems to be efficacious in young children, parents and teachers. More research is needed in order to evaluate sustainability.
- © 2010 by American Heart Association, Inc.