Factors associated with successful nutrition education interventions in children

Nutrition education is a critical component in the development of healthy eating practices and behaviours, as it enhances the knowledge and skills children need to make healthier dietary choices. Despite convincing evidence that nutrition education has the potential to influence children’s dietary choices, improve health, and enhance academic performance, the specific characteristics of effective nutrition education programs for children are not clearly defined.

The purpose of this systematic review was to identify the characteristics associated with successful nutrition education interventions in children, based on the achievement of stated objectives in three different age groups: preschool children, elementary / primary school children, and secondary school students. Forty one studies were included: 7 targeted preschool children, 26 targeted elementary/primary school children, and 8 targeted secondary school children.

Successful interventions targeting school children were more likely to succeed if they:

  • engaged parents by means of face-to-face sessions
  • identified specific behaviours to be modified
  • assured fidelity by training teachers or recruiting trained experts to deliver the intervention
  • were of sufficient duration - at least 6 months
  • used age-appropriate activities.

For information on the range of educational resources for children and young people on healthy eating and food safety provided by safefood take a look at our Education pages.

Posted: 31/05/2018 09:24:35 by Marian O’Reilly


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