Last Updated on 20 Sep 2023

The Impact of a complex school nutrition intervention on double burden of malnutrition among Thai primary school children: a 2-year quasi-experiment.



This study assessed the impacts of the Dekthai Kamsai programme on overweight/obesity, underweight and stunting among male and female primary school students.

Study design

A quasi-experiment was conducted in 16 intervention and 19 control schools across Thailand in 2018 and 2019. In total, 896 treated and 1779 control students from grades 1 to 3 were recruited. In intervention schools, a set of multifaceted intervention components were added into school routine practices. Anthropometric outcomes were measured at baseline and at the beginning and end of every school term.


Propensity score matching with linear and Poisson difference-in-difference analyses were used to adjust for the non-randomisation and to analyse the intervention's effects over time.


Compared with controls, the increases in mean BMI-for-age Z-score (BAZ) and the incidence rate of overweight/obesity were lower in the intervention schools at the 3rd, 4th and 8th measurements and the 3rd measurement, respectively. The decrease in mean height-for-age Z-score (HAZ) was lower at the 4th measurement. The decrease in the incidence rate of wasting was lower at the 5th, 7th and 8th measurements. The favourable impacts on BAZ and HAZ were found in both sexes, while the favourable impact on overweight/obesity and unfavourable impact on wasting were found in girls.


This intervention might be effective in reducing BAZ, overweight/obesity, poor height gain, but not wasting. These findings highlight the benefits of a multifaceted school nutrition intervention and a need to incorporate tailor-made interventions for wasting to comprehensively address the double burden of malnutrition.

International Journal
Public Health 2023;224:51-7.
Pongutta S , Ferguson E , Davey C , Tangcharoensathien V , Limwattananon S , Borghi J , Wong CKH , Lin L
Pongutta S.