A Randomized Controlled Trial of Effects of Fruit Intake on Cardiovascular Disease Risk Factors in Children (FIST Study)
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© 2014 The Author(s). Background. Dietary habits are known to influence cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factors, which even in childhood are a predictor of future morbidity. Our objective was determining the impact of a school-based intervention of providing fruit daily in the classroom and its effects on risk factors for CVD, and dietary habits. Methods. The study was a randomized controlled trial involving 2 public and 2 private schools, one of each in an intervention and control group. Measurements at both the start and end of 8 weeks were aimed to identify any changes in physiological measures, and child food choices. Results. The intervention had minimal impact on physiological variables but was effective in improving the amount of fruit and vegetables consumed and preferences toward fruit intake. Parent activity and dietary choices were poor at baseline, but significantly improved in the intervention group compared to the control group over the 8 weeks. Conclusion. This intervention was effective in improving the amount of fruit consumed and attitudes toward fruit intake over just 2 months. It has also shown the importance of not just the school environment but also the home environment in influencing children developing good dietary choice habits and lifestyle.
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