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 journalArticlepeer-review

7 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)
Pages (from-to)1408-1416
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
Volume118
Issue number8
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 2018

Keywords

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

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Nutrition and Dietetics

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