n South African Journal of Sports Medicine - Impact of a primary school-based nutrition and physical activity intervention on learners in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa : a pilot study : original research article

Volume 21, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1015-5163
  • E-ISSN: 2078-516X



. The opportunity for children to be physically active during school hours is rapidly decreasing in selected schools. This study evaluated the effects of a nutrition and physical activity (NAP) intervention incorporated within the school curriculum.

. A prospective empirical pilot study with an intervention and an assessment of pre- and post-intervention fitness. Learners completed a NAP questionnaire and participated in a battery of fitness tests before and after intervention.
. A purposive sample of four primary schools in KwaZulu-Natal was selected by the provincial Department of Health.
. The NAP intervention was designed to introduce various methods of physical activity and healthy nutritional habits within the school's existing curriculum. Classroom-based intervention materials were developed to provide cost-effective and, more importantly, a sustainable intervention.
. Post-intervention results showed a significant increase (<0.05) in the average number of sports participated in by each learner during physical education / life orientation periods. Learners were motivated to participate in physical activity including games and sports during break times. A general increase in after-school activities from pre- to post-intervention per learner was noted.
. A school-based physical activity and nutrition intervention programme has the potential to increase the physical activity of learners and to a lesser degree their nutritional behaviour.

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