Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)


Nutrition, Dietetics, and Food Sciences

Committee Chair(s)

Heidi Wengreen


Heidi Wengreen


Barbara DeBoer


Tamara Vitale


This study aimed to increase vegetable consumption and preference in elementary school-aged children using two interventions: 1) flavor-flavor conditioning; and 2) sensory-based, vegetable-themed education. In both interventions, increase in consumption was measured by visual observation of how many vegetables children took and consumed from a vegetable buffet. Preferences were measured with a self-administered survey. In the flavor-flavor intervention, children ages 5 to 11 (n=59) were exposed to sweetened and nonsweetened vegetable purees. Preferences were assessed prior to intervention using a rating and ranking system. Nine paired tastings were presented. Children received a posttest immediately after the final conditioning (n=27) and again 2 to 3 weeks after the final conditioning (n=24). A repeated measures ANOVA was used to examine the effect of conditioning (sweetened vegetable purees) on flavor preference. The change in attitudes and behaviors related to vegetables was evaluated using independent samples t-tests. Pre- and post-flavor conditioning change in whole vegetable consumption was assessed using paired t-tests. Flavor-flavor conditioning is not an effective strategy to increase whole vegetable consumption or preference for vegetables in elementary school-aged children. The vegetable-themed curriculum focused on four vegetables (carrots, peas, cauliflower, broccoli) and included three 30-minute lessons on each vegetable. Lessons included information on how the vegetable tastes, where it grows, and what it looks, feels, sounds, and smells like. Lessons were taught once per week for 3 weeks each month over four months. Children ages 5-11 enrolled in an after-school program at one elementary school were invited to participate (n=27). The amount of vegetables consumed by participants during a vegetable buffet was observed pre- and post-intervention (n = 20, 12 respectively). Differences in these amounts were assessed using independent samples t-tests. The education intervention was associated with increased consumption of carrots (p-value =0.001) and peas (p-value=0.003) but not cauliflower or broccoli. There was no change in vegetable-related attitudes/behaviors post-intervention. The results support the use of sensory-based, vegetable-themed education to increase vegetable consumption among children. Future studies should involve a larger sample size and should consider in-school rather than after-school education.




This work was revised and made publicly available electronically on July 25, 2011