Date of Award:

12-2010

Document Type:

Thesis

Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)

Department:

Nutrition, Dietetics, and Food Sciences

Advisor/Chair:

Heidi Wengreen

Abstract

This study aimed to implement and assess a school-based multi-component intervention aimed at increasing elementary school-aged children's knowledge of, preference for, and intake of vegetables. The multi-component intervention included lunchroom exposure, nutrition curriculum in the classroom, after school program vegetable curriculum, family friendly nutrition newsletter, vegetable fair and parent cooking class. Lunchtime vegetable consumption was assessed by direct observation. Changes in preference, attitude, and knowledge were assessed using a pre- and post-intervention survey.

The multi-component intervention was implemented at Canyon Elementary during the 2008-2009 school year. Classroom teachers provided 20 minutes of nutrition education to students in grades one through five (n=450) once every month from September 2008 through May 2009. Students who participated in the after school program received additional education once a week for three weeks each month. Overall, no significant difference was observed between children's pre- and post-intervention except for their willingness to try new vegetables.

Students in grades second and fourth (n=81) were asked to participate in a plate-waste study by allowing researchers to photograph the amount of vegetables they selected and consumed during (p=0.483) second and (p=0.467) fourth pre-intervention and (p=0.71) second and (p=0.34) fourth post-intervention lunch-period. No change in vegetable consumption was observed (p >0.05).

Although the intervention was well received by Canyon Elementary administration, teachers, food-service director, and students, we observed not significant changes in the outcomes we assessed. The results of this study are not consistent with other multi-component school-based interventions that have effectively changed diet- related behaviors among children. Additional work in this area at this school should include additional validated outcomes assessments, changes to the selection of vegetables offered to children in school lunch menus, and a stronger parent involvement.

Comments

This work made publicly available electronically on December 23, 2010.

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