Effect of Healthy Lifestyle Interventions in Schools of Jazan City, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia: A Quasi-experimental Study
Unhealthy dietary habits and lifestyle among adolescents is considered as a risk factor for nutrition-related diseases in adulthood. The objective of this study was to investigate the effectiveness of a healthy lifestyle intervention—including physical activity (PA) and eating habits (EH)—among female students in Jizan City, southwest Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA).
A representative sample of 565 school students aged 12–15 years was randomly selected from four schools in Jizan, KSA. The PA and EH were assessed using a validated self-administered questionnaire. A pre-post quasi-experimental study was implemented in three phases.
Following the intervention, the school children in the intervention groups showed a significant improvement in their EH and PA. These improvements were documented in increased physical walking measured by the number of students walking daily, the number of days walked, and the time spent on vigorous activities (54.11 ± 54.89 to 63.24 ± 76.16). Fruits and vegetables had a similar consumption frequency in both the intervention and control groups. The snacks were frequently consumed among intervention group with a significant increase in the mean number from 1.64 ± 0.93 to 1.96 ± 1.13 (p = 0.000) and fast food were less frequently consumed among intervention group than the control group (p = 0.000). The prevalence of obesity in the intervention group was reduced from 16.3% to 12.9%, while it was significantly increased from 17.6% to 19.0% in the control group (p = 0.0148). Weight decreased by 0.37 kg in the intervention group, while it increased by 0.07 kg in the control group, but with no statistically significant increase.
In conclusion, healthy lifestyle interventions can improve short- and long-term outcomes in school children. When examining the health benefits of healthy lifestyle, the importance of dietary and PA behaviors should be considered.
Keywords: lifestyle, dietary habits, physical activity, chronic diseases, Jazan-KSA
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