TOYBOX- Taste and Move Adventures
Malta is a partner in the EU Joint Action Chrodis Plus project (2017-2020) which is implementing best practices in the prevention of chronic diseases.
Given the high rates of childhood obesity in Malta, the Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Directorate (HPDP) within the Ministry for Health is leading a multi component intervention (ToyBox -Taste and Move Adventures). ToyBox (http://www.toybox-study.eu/) is a kindergarten-based, family-involved intervention, which targets key behaviours related to early childhood obesity in preschool children. ToyBox was implemented in kindergartens in church and independent schools in Malta and Gozo and addressed behaviour change among 3-4-year-old children. The importance of good oral health at an early age was also emphasised. ToyBox was implemented in 27 independent and church schools in 2018-2019 and 991 children and their families benefited from this programme. Four energy balance related behaviours (drinking, eating and snacking, physical activity and sedentary behaviour) and an oral health component were addressed. The ToyBox team trained the kindergarten teachers to implement the programme and parents received informative material. Anthropometric measurements, pedometry, questionnaires and oral hygiene assessments were carried out pre- and post-implementation to assess the benefits of the programme. Anthropometric measurements were carried out for a third time one calendar year from the start of the programme.
Feedback from teachers has indicated an improvement in health awareness and eating and drinking habits. Presently, the data is being analysed to obtain objective information