The aim of this study was to determine the effects of nutritional education and vigorous physical activity on health-related parameters.
The sample group consisted of 134 children from 5 rurally located schools. Participants were divided between 5 different experimental groups: control group (CG), physical activity group (PA), nutritional education group (NE), combined intervention group (PA+NE), and a combined intervention group with additional substitution of normally used oil for extra virgin olive oil (EVOO; PA+NE+EVOO). The intervention consisted of 60 minute sessions of physical activity held twice a week as well as nutritional education sessions held over 6 months.
Students in the groups receiving physical activity reduced their fat percentage and increased their muscle mass post intervention. At posttest the lipid profile improved in all intervention groups. The proportion of macronutrients and dietary cholesterol improved in the groups receiving nutritional education. The posttest comparison showed significantly lower fat percentage, sum of skinfolds and waist circumference in NE relative to CG and PA relative to CG. Diastolic blood pressure and glycaemia were significantly lower in PA+NE+EVOO relative to CG.
A school-based program consisting of nutritional education or nutritional education plus a physical activity program showed a positive effect on health-related parameters in children.