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<jats:p>The effectiveness of a health and nutrition education programme, in changing certain chronic disease risk factors, was assessed after the 6 years intervention period was completed. The school-based intervention programme was applied to all children registered in the first grade (age 5·5–6·5 years) in 1992 in two counties of Crete, while the children from a third county served as a control group. In order to assess the effectiveness of the intervention, a variety of biological and behavioural parameters were measured before and following completion of the intervention in a randomly selected school-based sample of 602 intervention group (IG) and 444 control group (CG) pupils. At the end of the 6-year period, it was found that biochemical indices generally improved significantly more in the IG compared with the CG (mean change for IG <jats:italic>v.</jats:italic> CG was -0·27 <jats:italic>v.</jats:italic> -0·12 mmol/l for total cholesterol (TC); -0·07 <jats:italic>v.</jats:italic> +0·24 for TC:HDL and -0·13 <jats:italic>v.</jats:italic> +0·14 for LDL:HDL). Similarly, the changes observed in the anthropometric variables in the two groups were in favour of the IG (+3·68 <jats:italic>v.</jats:italic> +4·28 kg/m<jats:sup>2</jats:sup> for BMI; +2·97 <jats:italic>v.</jats:italic> +4·47 mm for biceps skinfold). Total energy intake and consumption of total fat and saturated fat increased significantly less in the IG compared with the CG (+747·7 <jats:italic>v.</jats:italic> 1534·7 kJ (+178·7 <jats:italic>v.</jats:italic> +366·8 kcal); +5·9 <jats:italic>v.</jats:italic> +18·8 g and +0·8 <jats:italic>v.</jats:italic> +5·1 g respectively), while time devoted to leisure time physical activity and cardiovascular run test performance increased significantly more in the IG (+281 <jats:italic>v.</jats:italic> +174 min/week and +2·5 <jats:italic>v.</jats:italic> +1·2 stages respectively). The findings of the present study underline the importance of such programmes in health promotion and disease prevention. Although the long-term effects of these programmes can only be assessed by tracking this population through to adolescence and adulthood, these programmes seem to have the potential to lead to a healthier lifestyle and thus a reduction in risk factor levels.</jats:p>

Original publication




Journal article


British Journal of Nutrition


Cambridge University Press (CUP)

Publication Date





315 - 324