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Title: A novel dietary assessment tool and a feasibility study to improve sugar and water consumption in Maltese school children
Author: Sillato Copperstone, Claire
ISNI:       0000 0004 2745 7991
Awarding Body: University of Aberdeen
Current Institution: University of Aberdeen
Date of Award: 2013
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Obesity in children is a major public health concern in Malta with prevalence statistics placing 11-, 13- and 15- year old Maltese children at the top of the scale, when compared to other Westernised countries. Obtaining valid information on diets is therefore vital to improve aspects of dietary behaviour in this age group. The main aim of this project was to carry out a feasibility study to improve sugar and water intakes in Maltese school children using a validated dietary assessment tool, REALITYMALTA™. This is a novel internet-based tool originally developed at the Rowett Institute for Nutrition and Health (RINH) and further upgraded, by incorporating local food and drink, for use in Maltese school children aged 9-11 years. Comparative results obtained using the new tool and a one day 24-hr MPR showed non-significant differences between the two tools for sugars, NMES and water, suggesting that it can be used with reasonable confidence to measure these nutrients in Maltese school children. Focus groups carried out in the pre-intervention period guided towards the development of a combined educational and environmental feasibility study carried out for a 12-week period in three local state schools. Educational sessions for parents and children were held, an educational leaflet was distributed, and free bottled water was supplied to the participating classrooms in the intervention schools. Nutrient results comparing the pre-intervention and post-intervention periods using the REALITYMALTA™ tool showed a significant reduction in caloric intake and a decrease, although non-significant, in sugars and NMES consumption. There were no statistically significant changes for water consumption. These encouraging results could provide baseline information for a future full scale trial. Further development work of REALITYMALTA™ is required to ensure the active participation of all those involved and to successfully improve dietary behaviour and reduce obesity in Maltese school children.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: University of Malta
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available