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C.P Senevirathna, K.W. Wickremasinghe, I. Liyanage, P. Katulanda, A. Pathirana, A. Alagiyawanna, N. Towsend, J. Williams2

Non Communicable Diseases (NCD) are gradually becoming a major cause of morbidity and mortality among developing countries than their counterpart. Sri Lanka as a lower middle income country is faced with a double burden of malnutrition. The strong health system needs to be fortified with an empowered population that can make healthy life style choices in order to enhance the effectiveness of national level policies to combat malnutrition. Aim of this study was to assess the nutrition related behaviours among parents who attended school health club activities in, Sri Lanka. Study sample (n=120) was drawn from parents attending School Health Club activities in 10 selected schools in the Moneragala District. The data were collected by trained data collectors using interviewer administered questionnaires and anthropometric measurements recorded on data sheets. Mean age of the participants was 36.9 years (SD 10.2 CI=95%). 77.2% of participants were females. Mean BMI of the participants was 23.0 Kgm-2 (SD 3.8, CI = 95%). 28.9% (n=35) of the participants were overweight and 4.2% (n=5) were obese. 78.5% of participant stated that they do not use a list of goods while shopping. Only 30.6% of them actively attempted to choose healthy foods while shopping. 50.4% of them buy vegetable and fruits. When assessing the dinning pattern, 83.5% did not pay attention to the recommended amount of salt and coconut oil while cooking. 15.7% participants made an effort to consume the correct portion size.84.3% had their meals while watching TV. Only 11.6% used a flat plate to have their meal. When assessing physical activity levels, 94.2% were not active in leisure time domain. The actual prevalence of unhealthy nutrition practices may be higher than what was recorded here as this sample was biased towards healthy behaviour because the participants here had made a positive effort to attend school health club activities and therefore indicating a health seeking behaviour. The nutrition related behaviours attitudes and practices among parents need to be addressed and corrected in order to achieve favourable results in modifying the behaviour of school children. School children and school health clubs can be utilized as change agents and platforms for inducing life style changes in communities if utilized properly.