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Year : 2019  |  Volume : 8  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 1017-1021

Teaching children about hygiene: A primary prevention experience in Portugal

1 UCSP Buraca, ACES Amadora, Portugal
2 USF Aveiro/Aradas, ACES BaixoVouga, Portugal

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Ana N Barata
R. Luís de Camões 5, 2610-262 Amadora
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/jfmpc.jfmpc_428_18

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Background: Children's knowledge on hygiene is often considered to be provided by parents or schools. It is something with a direct impact on health and linked with socio-cultural factors. Primary care plays a vital role in health education and promotion, so focusing on hygiene habits is part of primary prevention. Objectives: Improving the knowledge on hygiene and promoting healthy behaviors in students from the 4th to the 6th grade. Materials and Methods: Longitudinal, prospective study. Hygiene habits were assessed through a questionnaire, followed by a brief health education session organized by healthcare professionals at schools. Hygiene habits were then reassessed using the original questionnaire. Results: A total of 812 questionnaires (354 in the pre-session phase and 458 in the post-session phase) were collected, filled in by students with ages ranging between 8 and 16 (average, 10.8), being 52% boys. There were significant increases in the score in both genders, but this increase was slightly higher for boys, with an average increase of 0.98 points (P < 0.05, independent samples t test). The 9 year old group (in the first evaluation; 10 years old post-talk) had the highest increase in score, with an average increase of 1.33 points in the questionnaire. Conclusion: Interventions conducted by healthcare professionals at schools have a positive effect for health education. The resulting scores revealed an improvement regarding hygiene habits namely in younger students. This may suggest that interventions on hygiene habits should take place at younger ages, so to have a greater impact in behavioral change.

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