1 Universidad Central de Venezuela, Caracas, Venezuela; 2 Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, Venezuela; 3 Alcaldía del Municipio Sucre, Miranda, Venezuela
Today, it is common for low-income communities to have unique nutrition issues that arise in the context of nutrition transition, such as the rise of obesity without the eradication of undernutrition. Children living within such communities are particularly vulnerable to these issues. The Energy Balance 4 Kids (EB4K) program, led by specially trained registered dietitians, has been effective in improving students’ nutrition knowledge, attitudes, certain eating behaviors, and in establishing healthy eating and physical activity environments in diverse schools in the United States. The EB4K model has been adapted for a pilot intervention in a low-income community in Venezuela. The aims are: 1) to evaluate anthropometric variables of the participating children, including meaningful indicators of body composition in childhood, as described in the literature; 2) to compare anthropometric measurement outcomes to local as well as international growth standards; 3) to assess food and nutrient intake records, with particular attention to energy, protein, calcium, folate and iron adequacy; 4) to identify nutrition- and physical activityrelated behaviors that improve participants’ health; 5) to determine the socioeconomic variables that effect behavior change for participating children and their families; and 6) to identify the relationship between food insecurity and under- and/or overnutrition. The multi-unit intervention that coincides with the evaluation of these measures is tailored for different grade levels. This ensures that the message has reach throughout the students’ primary years. In conclusion, findings from this pilot study will inform future studies, with the ultimate goal of translating research findings into sustainable programs that benefit Venezuelan children and other countries experiencing the effects of the double burden of malnutrition.