Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program and Requests for Fruits and Vegetables Outside School Settings

Punam Ohri-Vachaspati, Elizabeth Dachenhaus, Jessie Gruner, Kristina Mollner, Eric B. Hekler, Michael Todd

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

6 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background: Consumption of fruits and vegetables (F/V) among elementary school-aged children remains inadequate, especially among low-income children. The US Department of Agriculture's Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program (FFVP) provides F/V as snacks to children during the school day, outside of school meals. School-based initiatives are successful in changing behaviors in school settings; however, their influence on behaviors outside of schools needs investigation. Objective: To examine whether FFVP participation is associated with F/V requests at stores, self-efficacy to ask for and choose F/V at home, and F/V consumption. Design: Cross-sectional study. Participant/setting: Fourth graders in six classrooms (n=296) from three urban, low-income school districts in Phoenix, AZ, were surveyed during 2015; one FFVP and one non-FFVP school from each district that were similar in school size, percent free/reduced-price meal eligibility, and race/ethnicity of enrolled students were selected. Main outcome measures: Children's self-reported F/V requests during shopping, their self-efficacy to ask for and choose F/V at home, and F/V consumption on the previous day (non-FFVP school day) were measured using questions adapted from validated surveys. Statistical analysis: Multivariable mixed-effect regression models, adjusting for clustering of students within classes and classes within schools were explored. Results: In models adjusting for individual-level factors (ie, age and sex) only, several significant positive associations were observed between school FFVP participation and healthier F/V outcomes. After additionally adjusting for school-level factors (ie, total enrollment and % Hispanic/Latino students) significant associations were observed between school FFVP participation and more requests for vegetables during shopping (P<0.001), higher scores on self-efficacy to choose vegetables at home (P=0.004), stronger preferences for vegetables (P<0.001), and more frequent consumption of fruit (P=0.006). Conclusions: School FFVP participation was associated with more requests for vegetables during shopping and higher self-efficacy to make healthy choices at home, suggesting the influence of the FFVP may extend beyond the school day.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2018

Keywords

  • Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program
  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Low-income
  • School food
  • School Food Program

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Nutrition and Dietetics

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