Geneva Health Forum Archive

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School Based Intervention to Prevent and Manage Obesity: Tunisia

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Author(s): Jihene Maatoug Maaloul1, Imed Harrabi1, Mylene Belkacem1, Sonia Hmad1, Hassen Ghannem1
Affiliation(s): 1Department of Epidemiology, University Hospital Farhat Hached, Sousse Tunisia
1st country of focus: Tunisia
Relevant to the conference theme: Non-communicable chronic diseases
Summary (max 100 words): This paper presents the results of a pre assessment study aimed at studying the prevalence of obesity and overweight among two randomized samples
of schoolchildren aged 11 to 16 years old who were enrolled in a school based intervention to prevent and manage obesity in the region of Sousse, Tunisia.
Background (max 200 words): The prevalence of childhood obesity has increased worldwide and in Tunisia we are facing an epidemiological transition.
Objectives (max 100 words): The objective of this research was to study the prevalence of obesity and overweight in a population of school children, and to propose a school
based intervention to prevent and manage obesity in the region of Sousse, Tunisia.
Methodology (max 400 words): This was a quasi experimental design with school based intervention. The intervention group was located in Sousse Jawhara and Sousse Riadh and the
control group was located in the region of Msaken. Pre assessment was done with a randomized sample in each group to evaluate the prevalence of obesity in the school year 2009/2010. It concerned schoolchildren aged 11 to 16 years old. The total number of participants was 4003 with 1929 and 2074 respectively in intervention and control groups. The intervention began in the school year 2010/2011 and will last three years. We used a self administered questionnaire to collect data about socio-demographic characteristics, eating and sedentary habits. We also took weight, height and waist circumference of selected schoolchildren. The intervention program began in school year 2010/2011 and will last three years. It consists of educative sessions on healthy diet and physical activity. It also consists of sensitization days animated byschoolchildren leaders formed by the project team.
Results (max 400 words): The proportion of boys was 50.2% and 46.5% respectively in intervention and control groups. The mean age was 13.24 ±1.26 and 13.48 ± 1.30 in each
group. The proportion of schoolchildren who consume vegetables daily was respectively 28.4% and 40.3% in the intervention and control groups. Likewise, the proportion of fruits consumption was 55.8% and 57.6%. The proportion of schoolchildren who do recommended level of physical activity was 14.7% and 9.5% respectively in intervention and control groups. In the intervention group, the proportion of overweight and obesity was respectively 20.6% and 7%. In the control group, the proportion of overweight and obesity was respectively 15.5% and 4.5%.
Conclusion (max 400 words): Intervention in schools is important to prevent and manage obesity among adolescents.

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