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      Unravelling the effect of the Dutch school-based nutrition programme Taste Lessons: the role of dose, appreciation and interpersonal communication

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          To unravel the effect of school-based nutrition education, insight into the implementation process is needed. In this study, process indicators of Taste Lessons (a nutrition education programme for Dutch elementary schools) and their association with changes in behavioural determinants relevant to healthy eating behaviour are studied.


          The study sample consisted of 392 Dutch primary school children from 12 schools. Data were collected using teacher and child questionnaires at baseline, and at one and six months after the intervention. Multilevel regression analyses were conducted to study the association between dose, appreciation and children’s engagement in interpersonal communication (talking about Taste Lessons with others after the lessons), and change in knowledge, awareness, skills, attitude, emotion, subjective norm and intention towards two target behaviours.


          With an average implementation of a third of the programme activities, dose positively predicted change in children’s subjective norm of the teacher after one month. Teachers and children highly appreciated Taste Lessons. Whereas teacher appreciation was inversely associated, child appreciation was positively associated with children’s change in awareness, emotion and subjective norm of teachers after one month and in attitude and subjective norm of parents after six months. Interpersonal communication was positively associated with children’s change in five determinants after one month and in attitude and intention after six months.


          The implementation process is related to the programme outcomes of Taste Lessons. Process data provide valuable insights into factors that contribute to the effect of interventions in real-life settings.

          Electronic supplementary material

          The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12889-016-3430-1) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

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          Most cited references 23

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          ANCOVA versus change from baseline: more power in randomized studies, more bias in nonrandomized studies [corrected].

           Jack van Loon (2006)
          For inferring a treatment effect from the difference between a treated and untreated group on a quantitative outcome measured before and after treatment, current methods are analysis of covariance (ANCOVA) of the outcome with the baseline as covariate, and analysis of variance (ANOVA) of change from baseline. This article compares both methods on power and bias, for randomized and nonrandomized studies. The methods are compared by writing both as a regression model and as a repeated measures model, and are applied to a nonrandomized study of preventing depression. In randomized studies both methods are unbiased, but ANCOVA has more power. If treatment assignment is based on the baseline, only ANCOVA is unbiased. In nonrandomized studies with preexisting groups differing at baseline, the two methods cannot both be unbiased, and may contradict each other. In the study of depression, ANCOVA suggests absence, but ANOVA of change suggests presence, of a treatment effect. The methods differ because ANCOVA assumes absence of a baseline difference. In randomized studies and studies with treatment assignment depending on the baseline, ANCOVA must be used. In nonrandomized studies of preexisting groups, ANOVA of change seems less biased than ANCOVA, but two control groups and two baseline measurements are recommended.
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            Getting children to eat more fruit and vegetables: a systematic review.

            There is growing recognition of the need to increase consumption of currently suboptimal levels of fruit and vegetables by children, given their known beneficial effects for health. There is, however, a need for a synthesis of the evidence on interventions that might achieve this policy goal. A systematic review of published and unpublished studies was carried out by searching 14 publication databases and contacting experts in the fields. All papers in eight languages were considered if they described individual- and population-based interventions and promotion programmes that encouraged the consumption of a diet relatively higher in fruit and/or vegetables in free-living, not acutely ill children of both genders, with follow-up periods of at least 3 months, measurement of change in intake and a control group. Fifteen studies focusing on children met the criteria for inclusion in the systematic review. None of the studies reviewed had a detrimental effect on fruit and vegetable consumption. Ten studies had a significant effect, ranging from +0.3 to +0.99 servings/day. More research is needed to examine in more depth, for longer follow-up periods, the effectiveness of interventions promoting fruit and vegetable consumption. The evidence is strongest in favor of multi-component interventions to increase fruit and vegetable consumption in children.
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              Quality of implementation: developing measures crucial to understanding the diffusion of preventive interventions.

              As prevention programs become disseminated, the most serious threat to effectiveness is maintaining the quality of implementation intended by the developers. This paper proposes a methodology for measuring quality of implementation in school settings and presents data from a pilot study designed to test several of the proposed components. These methods included assessments of adherence, quality of process, the positive or negative valence of adaptations, teachers' attitudes and teachers' understanding of program content. This study was conducted with 11 teachers who had varying degrees of experience who taught Life Skills Training. Observation and interview data were collected during visits to schools. Results suggest that quality of implementation can be measured through observation and interview. Teachers varied in adherence and quality of program delivery. All teachers made adaptations to the program. Experienced teachers were more likely to adhere to the curriculum, deliver it in a way that was more interactive and engaging to students, communicate the goals and objectives better, and make positive adaptations. The field can use these findings as the basis for exploring strategies for measuring and improving quality of implementation.

                Author and article information

                BMC Public Health
                BMC Public Health
                BMC Public Health
                BioMed Central (London )
                5 August 2016
                5 August 2016
                : 16
                [1 ]Division of Human Nutrition, Wageningen University, P.O. Box 8129, 6700 EV Wageningen, The Netherlands
                [2 ]Division of Strategic Communication, Wageningen University, 6700 EW Wageningen, The Netherlands
                [3 ]Steunpunt Smaaklessen & EU Schoolfruit, Division of Food Chemistry, Wageningen University, 6700 AA Wageningen, The Netherlands
                © The Author(s). 2016

                Open AccessThis article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.

                Funded by: FundRef, Ministerie van Economische Zaken (NL);
                Research Article
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                © The Author(s) 2016


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