Methods and Participant Characteristics of a Randomized Intervention to Promote Physical Activity and Healthy Eating Among Brazilian High School Students: the Saude na Boa Project

Abstract: A cross-cultural, randomized study was proposed to observe the effects of a school-based intervention designed to promote physical activity and healthy eating among high school students in 2 cities from different regions in Brazil: Recife and Florianopolis. The objective of this article is to describe the methodology and subjects enrolled in the project. Ten schools from each region were matched and randomized into intervention and control conditions. A questionnaire and anthropometry were used to collect data in the first and last month of the 2006 school year. The sample (n=2155 at baseline; 55.7% females; 49.1% in the experimental group) included students 15 to 24 years, attending nighttime classes. The intervention focused on simple environmental/organizational changes, diet and physical activity education, and personnel training. The central aspects of the intervention have been implemented in all 10 intervention schools. Problems during the intervention included teachers’ strikes in both sites and lack of involvement of the canteen owners in schools. The Saude na Boa study provides evidence that public high schools in Brazil represent an important environment for health promotion. Its design and simple measurements increase the chances of it being sustained and disseminated to similar schools in Brazil.

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