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3.3 HEALTH SCIENCES, Public and environmental health
Background: Health-promoting programmes must demonstrate sustained efficacy in order to make a true impact on public health. This study aimed to determine the effect of the Healthy Incentive for Pre-schools project on health-promoting practices in full-day-care pre-schools 18 months after a training intervention.
Methods: Thirty-seven pre-schools completed the initial study and were included in this follow-up study. The intervention consisted of one training session with either the pre-school 'manager-only' or 'manager and staff' using a specifically developed needs-based training resource pack comprised of written educational material and a validated health-promoting practice evaluation tool. Direct observation data of health-promoting practices were collected and allocated a score using the evaluation tool by a research dietitian at three time points; pre-intervention, between 6 and 9 months post-intervention and at 18-month follow-up. An award system was used to incentivise pre-schools to improve their scores.
Results: Health-promoting practice scores improved significantly (P < 0.001) from the 6-9 month post-intervention to the 18-month follow-up evaluation. No significant differences were observed between 'manager-only' and 'manager and staff' trained pre-schools.
Conclusions: The introduction of a pre-school evaluation tool supported by a training resource was successfully used to incentivise pre-schools to sustain and improve health-promoting practices 18 months after intervention training.
de Zwarte D, Kearney J, Corish CA, Glennon C, Maher L, Johnston Molloy C. Randomised study demonstrates sustained benefits of a pre-school intervention designed to improve nutrition and physical activity practices. J Public Health (Oxf). 2019 Dec 20;41(4):798-806. doi: 10.1093/pubmed/fdy173. PMID: 30281073.
Health Service Executive, Ireland