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Nardone P.,Centro Nazionale Of Epidemiologia Sorveglianza E Pomozione Della Salute | Lauria L.,Centro Nazionale Of Epidemiologia Sorveglianza E Pomozione Della Salute | Buoncristiano M.,Centro Nazionale Of Epidemiologia Sorveglianza E Pomozione Della Salute | Pizzi E.,Centro Nazionale Of Epidemiologia Sorveglianza E Pomozione Della Salute | And 2 more authors.
Epidemiologia e Prevenzione | Year: 2015

OBJECTIVES: To describe the dietary behaviour of children attending primary school and the school activities which promote healthy dietary habits. DESIGN OF THE STUDY: surveillance system with biannual prevalence studies SETTING AND PARTICIPANTS: The fourth round of data collection of the surveillance system OKkio alia SALUTE took place in 2014, promoted and financed by the Ministry of Health and coordinated by the National Institute of Health in collaborations with all regions. 2,408 schools, 48,426 children and 50,638 parents participated. Stratified cluster sampling (with third grade classes as units) was used; information was collected using questionnaires completed by children, parents, teachers and head-teachers. OUTCOME MEASURES: consumption of breakfast, mid-morning snack, fruit and vegetables, sweetened and gassy drinks; school initiatives to promote healthy dietary habits RESULTS: 31% of children have an adequate breakfast and 8% skip this meal; 52% consume an energy-dense mid-morning snack; 25% do not eat fruit and vegetables daily; 41% drink sweetened/gassy beverages daily. The unhealthy dietary habits are more common among children who have less educated parents or live in the South (more deprived area of the Country). Data show an improvement in the period 2008-2014, except in the consumption of fruit and vegetables. 74% of the schools include nutritional education in the curriculum, 66% have started initiatives of healthy dietary habits and 55% distribute healthy food; 35% involve parents in their initiatives. In the schools of the South nutritional education and involvement of parents are more frequent, while the distribution of healthy food and refectories are less common. CONCLUSIONS: The high frequency of unhealthy dietary behaviour and their geographic and social inequalities show that there is a great potential for improvement. Schools are very involved in initiatives of promotion, but they need more support from the institutions and involvement of the families.

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