One- and Two-Year Effects of the Healthy Primary School of the Future on Children's Dietary and Physical Activity Behaviours: A Quasi-Experimental Study

Nina H M Bartelink*, Patricia van Assema, Stef P J Kremers, Hans H C M Savelberg, Marije Oosterhoff, Maartje Willeboordse, Onno C P van Schayck, Bjorn Winkens, Maria W J Jansen

*Corresponding author for this work

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Schools can help to improve children's health. The 'Healthy Primary School of the Future' (HPSF) aims to sustainably integrate health and well-being into the school system. This study examined the effects of HPSF on children's dietary and physical activity (PA) behaviours after 1 and 2 years' follow-up. The study (n = 1676 children) has a quasi-experimental design with four intervention schools, i.e., two full HPSF (focus: nutrition and PA) and two partial HPSF (focus: PA), and four control schools. Accelerometers and child- and parent-reported questionnaires were used at baseline, after 1 (T1) and 2 (T2) years. Mixed-model analyses showed significant favourable effects for the full HPSF versus control schools for, among others, school water consumption (effect size (ES) = 1.03 (T1), 1.14 (T2)), lunch intake of vegetables (odds ratio (OR) = 3.17 (T1), 4.39 (T2)) and dairy products (OR = 4.43 (T1), 4.52 (T2)), sedentary time (ES = -0.23 (T2)) and light PA (ES = 0.22 (T2)). Almost no significant favourable effects were found for partial HPSF compared to control schools. We conclude that the full HPSF is effective in promoting children's health behaviours at T1 and T2 compared with control schools. Focusing on both nutrition and PA components seems to be more effective in promoting healthy behaviours than focusing exclusively on PA.

Original languageEnglish
Article number689
Pages (from-to)1-18
Number of pages18
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 22 Mar 2019


  • behaviour
  • effect evaluation
  • follow-up
  • health-promoting schools
  • nutrition
  • physical activity

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