School Programs in Austria: A Combined Behavioral and Environmental Intervention to Promote Healthy Hydration.


Special Institute for Preventive Cardiology and Nutrition, Salzburg, Austria, [Email]


Founded in 2005, the Austrian Special Institute for Preventive Cardiology and Nutrition (SIPCAN) has established the goal of improving nutrition education, behavior, and environment (e.g., beverages offered at vending machines). Due to the existing infrastructure, school staff, facilities, policies, and environments, the school setting provides a logical choice as a context for implementing interventions to promote healthy hydration practices. Thus SIPCAN specializes in developing and implementing school programs focusing on the target group of 10-18-year-old pupils. The education is delivered by an on-staff teacher with whom the school children are familiar, and it is aimed to reach the school children's parents, to reinforce healthier hydration in the home environment. Therefore, no specially trained professionals are required. Additionally, such interventions require a minimum of money, effort, school time, and contain practical lessons regarding healthy nutrition and physical activity. Using achievable goals, the food and drink offered in school cafeterias and vending machines is changed, in a way that the target group is reached in the best possible way and the healthier choice clearly becomes the easier choice. Last year, every third school of the target group attended at least one of these programs. In the school year of 2017/18, SIPCAN influenced 153,000 students (21% of the target group) through various health promoting programs.