Promoting healthy beverage consumption habits among elementary school children: results of the Healthy Kids Community Challenge ‘Water Does Wonders’ interventions in London, Ontario
Canadian Journal of Public Health
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This study examines the impact of London’s Healthy Kids Community Challenge (HKCC) ‘Water Does Wonders’ interventions, which combined water infrastructure and education programs.
How effective were the HKCC interventions at increasing water and decreasing sugar-sweetened beverage (SSB) consumption among grade 4–8 children in London, Ontario?
Non-randomized controlled trial. Children’s knowledge and beverage intake were measured before and after the interventions were implemented during the 2016–2017 school year. Children at intervention schools (n = 521) received education programs (Growing Chefs or UTRCA [Upper Thames River Conservation Authority]) and water bottle filling stations. Children at control schools (n = 410) received filling stations only. Multivariable linear mixed-model ANCOVAs were used to compare water and SSB consumption and knowledge across intervention groups, accounting for school-level clustering.
Children who received an education intervention and filling station compared with only a filling station consumed more water (β = 2.18 (95% CI − 1.87, 6.22) for Growing Chefs and β = 2.90 (95% CI − 0.23, 6.03) for UTRCA) and fewer SSBs (β = − 1.17 (95% CI − 3.83, 1.49) for Growing Chefs and β = − 2.56 (95% CI − 5.12, 0.001) for UTRCA) post-intervention, and had higher nutrition knowledge (β = 1.57 (95% CI − 1.68, 4.83) for Growing Chefs and β = 2.02 (95% CI − 0.35, 4.39) for UTRCA). These findings were not statistically significant.
An intervention intended to promote healthy beverage consumption yielded effects in the expected direction; however, they were small and not statistically significant. This is likely because the educational interventions were not fully aligned with the goals of the ‘Water Does Wonders’ program, preventing them from evoking meaningful changes in dietary behaviours.