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BACKGROUND: urgent development of effective interventions to prevent rapidly rising childhood obesity in China is needed. METHODS: Between May 2010 and December 2013, a cluster randomized controlled trial was conducted among 4th graders in eight urban primary schools randomly assigned to intervention or control groups in Nanjing, China. A multi-component intervention program was implemented within the treatment group, while students in the control group followed their usual health education curriculum without additional intervention. RESULTS: At baseline, 638 and 544 students were enrolled in the intervention and control group, respectively. The prevalence of excess body weight was 26.8%, with 27.4% in the intervention group and 26.1% in the control group (p=0.61). The mean (SD) BMI and WC was 18.7 (3.0) and 63.0 (9.2) for participants in intervention schools, and 18.5 (2.9) and 63.6 (8.7) for students in control group, separately (p=0.24 and 0.41, respectively). Compared to those who were not aware of what lifestyle/behavior factors were unhealthy, students who were aware of the unhealthy lifestyle/ behavior factors consumed fewer fried snacks (0.46±0.76 serves/week vs 0.65±0.91 serves/week; p<0.01), soft drinks (160±194 ml/week vs 199±227 ml/week; p<0.01), but larger amount of meat (502±429 g/week vs 449±344 g/week; p=0.03), and reported less screen time (214±232 minutes/week vs 252±264 minutes/week; p<0.01). Moreover, there was no difference within physical activity time between these two groups (257±341 minutes/week vs 218±324 minutes/week; p=0.13). CONCLUSIONS: Main characteristics of participants were balanced at baseline within intervention and control schools, but a gap existed between healthy lifestyle knowledge and actual healthy behavior in students. TRIAL REGISTRATION NUMBER: ChiCTR-ERC-11001819.

Original publication




Journal article


Asia Pac J Clin Nutr

Publication Date





48 - 54


Animals, Carbonated Beverages, Child, China, Diet, Exercise, Female, Health Behavior, Health Education, Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice, Health Promotion, Humans, Life Style, Male, Meat, Pediatric Obesity, Schools, Snacks, Urban Population