Impact evaluation of an oral health intervention amongst primary school children in Ireland.
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Friel, S., Hope, A., Kelleher, C., Comer, S., & Sadlier, D. (2002). Impact evaluation of an oral health intervention amongst primary school children in Ireland. Health Promotion International, 17(2), 119-126.
A pilot oral health programme was developed which aimed to improve dental health knowledge and behaviour amongst Irish school children aged 7-12 years. The programme comprised two integral components: a television campaign, run over a 6-week period, was incorporated into the children's programme "Den TV" on national television, with video clips of a member of the music band Boyzone promoting key oral health messages; and a Smile of the Year contest. Concurrently, a dental nurse delivered an interactive talk with pupils, showed a video of the Den TV oral health programme and distributed posters and leaflets. The aim of this study was to assess the impact of the overall intervention on school pupils' dental health knowledge and reported behaviour. Thirty-two primary schools in two health board regions in the Republic of Ireland participated in the study. At baseline and after 6 weeks, 1534 school children completed specially developed questionnaires. There was a positive net effect of the dental nurse intervention in all but one question. The percentage of children who reported using the recommended amount of toothpaste and brushing for 3 min appeared to have been further increased having observed the television campaign. These results are in line with the argument that mass media campaigns work to supplement the one-to-one activities of health professionals in order to effect knowledge and behavioural change.