Article

The heart smart cardiovascular school health promotion: Behavior correlates of risk factor change

Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, Louisiana, United States
Preventive Medicine (Impact Factor: 2.93). 02/1992; 21(1):18-32. DOI: 10.1016/0091-7435(92)90003-Z

ABSTRACT Background. A growing awareness of health promotion and positive lifestyle change, coupled with the knowledge that cardiovascular risk has its origins in childhood, has led to the development of health promotion programs in the elementary school. While most school-based programs target specific behaviors or enlist singular intervention modalities, the Heart Smart cardiovascular school health promotion targeted the total school environment with a multidisciplinary approach to prompt the school's varied institutions to implement changes in curriculum, school lunch, and physical education.Methods. Components of the Heart Smart environmental intervention included: (a) a school lunch program providing cardiovascular healthful food choices, reduced in fat by 30% and in sodium and sugar by 50%; (b) a physical education program promoting personal fitness and aerobic conditioning; and (c) cardiovascular risk factor screening, measuring fasting lipids and lipoproteins, anthropometrics, and blood pressure. Changes in cardiovascular risk factor status, school lunch selections, and exercise performance were compared.Results. Screening participants showed greater improvement in health knowledge than nonparticipants. School lunch choices were successfully altered, and children whose lunch choices were cardiovascular healthful evidenced the greatest cholesterol reduction. Improvements in run/walk performance were related in predicted directions to the overall cardiovascular risk profile. Increases in high-density lipoprotein cholesterol were observed at intervention schools.Conclusion. Observations indicate a relationship between behavior change and physiologic changes achieved in a total school health promotion to reduce cardiovascular risk.

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    ABSTRACT: Background Healthy children achieve better educational outcomes which, in turn, are associated with improved health later in life. The World Health Organization’s Health Promoting Schools (HPS) framework is a holistic approach to promoting health and educational attainment in school. The effectiveness of this approach has not yet been rigorously reviewed. Methods We searched 20 health, education and social science databases, and trials registries and relevant websites in 2011 and 2013. We included cluster randomised controlled trials. Participants were children and young people aged four to 18 years attending schools/colleges. HPS interventions had to include the following three elements: input into the curriculum; changes to the school’s ethos or environment; and engagement with families and/or local communities. Two reviewers identified relevant trials, extracted data and assessed risk of bias. We grouped studies according to the health topic(s) targeted. Where data permitted, we performed random-effects meta-analyses. Results We identified 67 eligible trials tackling a range of health issues. Few studies included any academic/attendance outcomes. We found positive average intervention effects for: body mass index (BMI), physical activity, physical fitness, fruit and vegetable intake, tobacco use, and being bullied. Intervention effects were generally small. On average across studies, we found little evidence of effectiveness for zBMI (BMI, standardized for age and gender), and no evidence for fat intake, alcohol use, drug use, mental health, violence and bullying others. It was not possible to meta-analyse data on other health outcomes due to lack of data. Methodological limitations were identified including reliance on self-reported data, lack of long-term follow-up, and high attrition rates. Conclusion This Cochrane review has found the WHO HPS framework is effective at improving some aspects of student health. The effects are small but potentially important at a population level.
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