Effectiveness of nutrition interventions in Australian secondary schools: A systematic review

Abigail Comeau, Bradley Mertens, Lavanya Bachwal, Jennifer Utter, Louise van Herwerden*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleResearchpeer-review

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Abstract

ISSUE ADDRESSED:

Dietary intake of Australian adolescents is suboptimal. Schools are an ideal setting for health promotion initiatives to develop healthy lifestyle behaviours among adolescents. However, we do not know which nutrition-focused, school-based interventions are effective at improving health outcomes in adolescents in Australia. Therefore, the aim was to evaluate the effect of nutrition interventions on health outcomes in Australian secondary school students.

METHODS:

MEDLINE, EMBASE, CINAHL, ERIC and Informit were systematically searched on 4th November 2022. Studies in any language evaluating nutrition interventions implemented in Australian secondary schools were included. Studies evaluating interventions conducted in primary schools or outside the school setting were excluded, as were any grey literature, systematic reviews and meta-analyses. Screening and data extraction were performed in duplicate. Quality was assessed using the Mixed Methods Appraisal Tool.

RESULTS: 

Thirteen studies (n = 27 224) reporting on nutrition interventions implemented in Australian secondary schools were included. Studies were conducted in five different states and a capital territory within Australia and were mostly randomised controlled trials. Most studies reported a significant improvement on nutrition-related health outcome measures (dietary behaviour n = 6, nutritional knowledge and attitudes n = 4 and anthropometric n = 1).

CONCLUSIONS:

This review found limited studies reporting on nutrition interventions in Australian secondary schools. However, most were shown to be effective in improving nutrition-related health outcomes. SO WHAT?: Since there were limited studies in peer-reviewed journals, more research in this area is needed to confirm the effectiveness of nutrition interventions in Australian secondary schools and to assess long-term effects on student's health outcomes.


SO WHAT?

Since there were limited studies in peer-reviewed journals, more research in this area is needed to confirm the effectiveness of nutrition interventions in Australian secondary schools and to assess long-term effects on student's health outcomes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-21
Number of pages21
JournalHealth Promotion Journal of Australia
Early online date16 Aug 2023
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 16 Aug 2023

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