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Childhood nutrition programs
In recent years, the prevalence of overweight and obesity in children under 5 years of age has increased in a worrying way as a consequence of the greater consumption of processed products rich in simple sugars and saturated fats, sugary drinks, the change of fresh vegetables by canned vegetables, the same that have allowed changes in healthy food patterns
Several studies have shown that health education is a strategy that promotes lifestyles that favor the growth and development of children and adolescents.
Negative lifestyles or unhealthy behaviors that children learn increase the risk of cardiovascular diseases and other chronic future diseases in the future.
Some studies recommend that cardiovascular health promotion strategies should be initiated in schools and even in preschool care centers, as it is the most effective way to promote healthy behaviors.
For this reason, it is urgent to identify effective interventions in this specific age group in order to prevent overweight and obesity. Several countries have launched intervention programs in preschool, school and adolescents to promote healthy eating habits and physical activity in appropriate environments for the optimal growth and development of children, as well as to prevent inappropriate nutritional status.
Five studies were conducted in nurseries and three were carried out in educational institutions. Three studies included preschool, teachers and parents. Parescolar and parents participated in a study. Three studies included preschool, schools and teachers and only in a study participated preschool. Five studies conducted the intervention between a period less than or equal to 6 months and three did it for 12 months. In six studies, the interventions were carried out with cases and controls and two studies were not controlled tests.
Of the eight studies, one implemented 30 minutes of daily physical activity for preschool the other interventions were carried out through training and three developed recreational and pedagogical strategies. Two studies conducted qualitative evaluations on training provided through personal opinion surveys.
A single study conducted a long -term evaluation after the end of the intervention. As for the variables studied, seven studies conducted nutritional status, of which a study determined body fat, another study used the weight/age indicators (p/e), weight/size (p/t) and size/size/Age (t/e) and the others determined the body mass index.
According to the results of the interventions, it was found in the study:
- Rabelo: A decrease in oil use.
- FRETES: He reported that at the end of the intervention, the consumption of fruits, vegetables and fish improved significantly in the group intervened in parents and children .
- Céspedes: reported that in intervened groups, parents significantly increased knowledge (p = 0.001) and attitudes (p =
- NASMATION: It notified a significant difference in the BMI (P = Additionally, Salazar: registered a reduction in body folds and increased moderate-vigorous physical activity in obese and eutrophic children.
- In Montenegro’s study: the children intervened significantly improved knowledge.
- Finally, Castañeda & Ruelas: They have observed significant changes in metabolic figures.
These interventions consider that preschool age is the most suitable for establishing good eating habits, in addition educational activities must be maintained over time.
Although, in most of the interventions found in this bibliographic review, participants were preschool and teachers, some studies indicate that the family plays a fundamental role in healthy food learning processes and that should be included in the educational program to apply.
In a meta-analysis of controlled random essays, it was found that parents who have knowledge in nutrition can provide healthy eating for their practical food and physical activity of the participants, it is necessary that these educational strategies and the variables studied were studiedanalyze more deeply to achieve a greater and better impact on preschool.
Additionally, it is necessary to carry out an economic, social and cultural analysis, in the type of population where it is necessaryThe objectives set in the educational intervention program, exercising a greater impact on the population.
Patterns and eating habits and physical activity can be modified by different factors, whether cultural, demographic, socio-economic and family, as well as the media, such as television, which transmits messages to promote new processed products generally rich infats and sugars.
These affect the development of adequate eating behavior and therefore favor changes in the lifestyles of the child and his family
Intervention programs in food education and physical activity in preschoolers have a positive impact on children and could prevent, in the medium and long term, inappropriate nutritional status and chronic non -transmissible chronic diseases.
The impact of health promotion programs is better when it starts at an early age and is handled together with the family and educators of children’s centers.
- April, v. (December 2017). Nutrition and physical activity intervention programs in Latin America. Obtained from Researchgate.