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Open Access Study protocol

A primary-school-based study to reduce prevalence of childhood obesity in Catalunya (Spain) - EDAL-Educació en alimentació: study protocol for a randomised controlled trial

Montse Giralt1, Rosa Albaladejo2*, Lucia Tarro2, David Moriña3, Victoria Arija4 and Rosa Solà5

Author Affiliations

1 Unitat de Farmacobiologia, Universitat Roviri i Virgili, Reus Spain

2 Educació i Promoció de la Salut, Facultat de Medicina i Ciències de la Salut, Hospital Universitari Sant Joan, Universitat Rovira i Virgili, Reus, Spain

3 Centre Tecnologic de Nutrició i Salut (CTNS), Reus, Spain

4 Epidemiologia Nutricional, Facultat de Medicina i Ciències de la Salut, Hospital Universitari Sant Joan, Universitat Rovira i Virgili, Reus, Spain

5 Unitat de Recerca en Lípids i Arteriosclerosi, CIBERDEM, Hospital Universitari Sant Joan, IISPV, Universitat ROVIRA i VIRGILI, Reus, Spain

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Trials 2011, 12:54  doi:10.1186/1745-6215-12-54

Published: 27 February 2011

Abstract

Background

The EdAL (Educació en Alimentació) study is a long-term, nutrition educational, primary-school-based program designed to prevent obesity by promoting a healthy lifestyle that includes dietary recommendations and physical activity.

The aims are: 1) to evaluate the effects of a 3-year school-based life-style improvement program on the prevalence of obesity in an area of north-west Mediterranean 2) To design a health-promotion program to be implemented by health-promoter agents (university students) in primary schools.

Methods/Design

1) The intervention study is a randomised, controlled, school-based program performed by university-student health-promoter agents. Initial pupil enrolment was in 2006 and continued for 3 years. We considered two clusters (designated as cluster A and cluster B) as the units for randomisation. The first cluster involved 24 schools from Reus and the second involved 14 schools from surrounding towns Cambrils, Salou and Vilaseca combined in order to obtain comparable groups. There are very good communications between schools in each town, and to avoid cross influence of the programs resulting from inter-school dialogue, the towns themselves were the unit for randomisation. Data collected included name, gender, date and place of birth at the start of the program and, subsequently, weight, height, body mass index (BMI) and waist circumference every year for 3 years. Questionnaires on eating and physical activity habits are filled-in by the parents at the start and end of the study and, providing that informed consent is given, the data are analysed on the intention-to-treat basis.

The interventions are based on 8 nutritional and physical activity objectives. They are implemented by university students as part of the university curriculum in training health-promoter agents. These 8 objectives are developed in 4 educational activities/year for 3 years (a total of 12 activities; 1 h/activity) performed by the health-promoter agents in primary schools. Control pupils follow their usual activities.

2) Courses on education and promotion of health, within in the curriculum of medicine and health sciences for university students, are designed to train health-promoter agents to administer these activities in primary schools.

Discussion

This controlled school-based intervention will test the possibility of preventing childhood obesity.

Trial registration number

ISRCTN: ISRCTN29247645