Healthy Nutrition in Chinese Middle Schools: An Ecological Approach

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Stewart, Donald

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Harris, Neil

Chang, Chun

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Good nutrition is vital for adolescents, because it supports their growth and helps them to become healthy adults. Under-nutrition delays adolescents’ physical and mental growth and maturation, and reduces adolescents’ learning and working capacity. Meanwhile, over-nutrition in adolescence, together with an unhealthy lifestyle, can lead to overweight and obesity, which are risk factors for many chronic diseases such as coronary heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and stroke. However, nutrition problems in adolescents are both common and serious in developing countries, especially in the rural areas of these countries. For example, both nutritional deficiencies and over-nutrition in adolescents are significant and growing problems in many parts of China. Intervention for adolescents can result in positive changes to their eating behaviours and improvements to their future health. Promoting nutrition for adolescents, accordingly, plays a crucial role in safeguarding a healthy life for individuals, and therefore this study focused on the promotion of good nutrition and healthy dietary intake among adolescents in rural areas of China. In view of the complexity and difficulty of achieving behaviour change, and the strong and sustainable effect that the health-promoting schools (HPS) framework, underpinned by ecological approaches, can make in behaviour change, this study applied both an ecological approach and a HPS framework as theoretical bases. These bases provided the guidance for promoting healthy dietary intake and nutrition in a “total school-based environment”, for the “total population” of the school, not only for students, but also for parents and school staff in rural Chinese middle schools.

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Thesis (PhD Doctorate)

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Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


School of Medical Science

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The author owns the copyright in this thesis, unless stated otherwise.

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