2006, Number 1
Rev Biomed 2006; 17 (1)
Bacardí-Gascón M, Murillo-González MJ, Jiménez-Cruz A
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ABSTRACTIntroduction. The assessment of food guides is required to evaluate the degree of understanding of any displayed messages and to determine their effect on the target population to design and follow a healthy diet. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of the Apple of Health (AH) on teenagers designing a healthy diet over a 24 month period.
Material and methods. Seventy-two first year middle school students (32 boys and 46 girls), age 12± 0.6 (11-14 y) participated in the study. At the first meeting students were asked to design a healthy menu. A week later, a poster displaying the Apple of Health was shown to the students and they were asked to design a healthy menu based on the AH messages. A week later, the messages depicted in the Apple of Health were explained to the students who were then asked to design a healthy menu. The AH poster was left on display in the classroom during the following two years. 24 months later the students were asked to design a healthy menu according to the AH. Efficacy assessment was conducted through a diet score for both the menu and for the consumption of portions from each group in adequate quantities. A diet score was completed giving one point for every portion from each group included in the menu plus one point for adequate quantities of portions within the range of the AH messages. The highest diet score was 10, which would equate to a healthy diet according to the AH.
Results. Overweight teenagers and those with lower Spanish grades had a significantly lower diet score. Fruit and vegetable consumption was very low in most teenagers. Overweight teenagers reported lower consumption of grains and cereals, milk and milk products, and meat and meat products. The diet score of the menu designed 24 months later was significantly higher (P ‹ 0.001). Overweight teenagers and those with lower Spanish grades had a significantly lower diet score.
Discussion. These results suggest that the Apple of Health could be an effective long-term tool to improve the design of a healthy diet and that improving Spanish grades might improve the efficacy of the AH.