Testing methods to increase consumption of healthy foods evidence from a school-based field experiment in Viet Nam

Trang Nguyen*, Alan de Brauw, Marrit van den Berg, Ha Thi Phuong Do

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Schools are an attractive entry point to improve children's diets, as their eating habits can be shaped during childhood and the information disseminated from school can reach adults through children. We implemented a cluster-randomized trial in 12 schools in peri-urban Viet Nam to assess if two school-based interventions increased knowledge of healthy diets among children and their parents, as well as children's consumption of healthy foods. First, children were given lessons about food before school lunch and encouraged to share the lessons with their parents. Second, children were provided with healthy snacks to reinforce messages about healthy eating. We found that in the short term, the nutrition lessons raised the knowledge index score of the children by 0.35 standard deviation. After six months, this intervention lost its effectiveness, emphasizing the need for linkage between knowledge and practice. By itself, free access to fruit at school increased the children's daily fruit consumption by half a portion, but not at the expense of home fruit consumption. Access to healthy foods at school can therefore be an effective measure to raise children's healthy consumption. Child-parent communication was not a reliable channel for knowledge dissemination in our setting.

Original languageEnglish
Article number102047
JournalFood Policy
Volume101
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - May 2021

Keywords

  • Child nutrition and health
  • Fruit and vegetable consumption
  • Healthy diets
  • Healthy food consumption
  • School-based nutrition education

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Testing methods to increase consumption of healthy foods evidence from a school-based field experiment in Viet Nam'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this