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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter October 12, 2016

Sustainability of the results of a non communicable diseases prevention program among youth in the region of Sousse, Tunisia

  • Nawel Zammit EMAIL logo , Jihene Maatoug , Rim Ghammam , Kebaili Raoudha , Boughammoura Lamia , Al’Absi Mustafa , Lando Harry and Hassen Ghannem

Abstract

Introduction:

Implementation of a healthy lifestyle at an early age is described as a successful intervention to prevent non communicable diseases. However, successful programs are not necessarily sustainable. The purpose of this study was to evaluate a 1-year sustainability of a 3-year comprehensive intervention conducted to promote a healthy lifestyle among schoolchildren.

Materials and methods:

A cohort study of 204 schoolchildren enrolled in middle schools was conducted after a quasi-experimental study in the region of Sousse, Tunisia. The survey lasted 1 year. An exposed group (n=105) was selected from the intervention group and the not-exposed group (n=99) was selected from the control group. The exposition was the intervention. The same questionnaire used at pre-intervention and post-intervention was self-administered to collect data about tobacco use, physical activity and eating habits. The biometric measurements were taken by trained medical doctors at schools.

Results:

After 1 year of follow-up, none of participants became smokers in the exposed group. However, in the not-exposed group five (5.1%) participants became smokers. The proportion of schoolchildren who experimented with tobacco for the first time increased insignificantly by 2.9% (p=0.77) in the exposed group versus a significant increase by 11.1% (p=0.001) in the not-exposed group. Concerning the recommended physical activity practice, fast food and fried food consumption and overweight, there were no significant changes in the two groups.

Conclusion:

A 3-year non communicable diseases prevention program has limited sustainable effects among schoolchildren in the short-term. Its repetition or a continued program through multisectoral actions is required.

Acknowledgments

This paper was based on a project funded by the United Health Group and by the Research Unit Santé UR12SP28: Epidemiologic Transition and Prevention of Chronic Disease by the Ministry of Higher Education (Tunisia).

  1. Competing interests: The authors have no conflict of interest.

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Received: 2016-06-21
Accepted: 2016-08-30
Published Online: 2016-10-12

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