Date of Award:

5-2008

Document Type:

Thesis

Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)

Department:

Nutrition, Dietetics, and Food Sciences

Advisor/Chair:

Heidi Wengreen

Abstract

Facilitating nutritional improvement in schools is an important strategy for reversing the alarming trends of overweight and undernourishment currently observed among children in the United States. Compared to national recommendations, many people in the United States under-consume nutrient-dense foods, such as fruits and vegetables. The objective of this study was to determine if various school-based interventions can increase fruit and vegetable consumption among 75 fourth-graders. Interventions included fruit and vegetable challenges, offering a new variety of fruit, and classroom nutrition education. To assess intake, photographs of students' school lunch trays were taken pre- and post-consumption and then analyzed to determine consumption. Differences in mean intake across time were examined and paired t-test analyses were used to assess if observed differences were statistically significant. Compared to baseline intakes, the variety intervention significantly increased mean fruit and vegetable consumption (p<0.001). The 'challenges' also increased intakes, however, the increase was not consistently significant (p=0.014 to 0.824). The education intervention was not associated with significant increases (p=0.642). Thus, schools should be encouraged to offer new varieties of fruits and vegetables.

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