Effect of Nutritional Intervention on Food Choices of French Students in Middle School Cafeterias, Using an Interactive Educational Software Program (Nutri-Advice)

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Abstract

Objective:

To evaluate the impact of interactive Nutri-Advice kiosks on children's nutritional skills and their ability to apply it to food choices in a middle school cafeteria menu (food choice competencies).

Design:

Quasi-experimental design; pre/post-test.

Setting:

Freestanding interactive computer terminals (kiosks) were installed in three middle schools in Toulouse, France.

Participants:

A total of 580 children were enrolled into the study (mean age, 13 ± 1 years).

Intervention:

Each child's physiological profile was stored in a personal barcode card. During 1 school year, once a day, each child could access the kiosk with this card, trying to find the most balanced meal according to his or her profile and the food available on the cafeteria menu.

Main Outcome Measures:

Children's food choice competency changes and body mass index z-score were evaluated.

Analysis:

Significance of change in food choice competencies (postintervention vs baseline) was examined using paired t test.

Results:

Across the study, children chose significantly less cheese and pastry or desserts, and significantly more starchy food and dairy, and tended to choose fruits and vegetables more often. Body mass index z-score decreased significantly during the period.

Conclusions and Implications:

Personalized nutrition counseling through an interactive device has the potential to improve the food choice competencies of children.

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