Changing Fruit and Vegetable Consumption among Children: The 5-a-Day Power Plus Program in St. Paul, Minnesota

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Abstract

Objectives

A randomized school-based trial sought to increase fruit and vegetable consumption among children using a multicomponent approach.

Methods

The intervention, conducted in 20 elementary schools in St. Paul, targeted a multiethnic group of children who were in the fourth grade in spring 1995 and the fifth grade in fall 1995. The intervention consisted of behavioral curricula in classrooms, parental involvement, school food service changes, and industry support and involvement. Lunchroom observations and 24-hour food recalls measured food consumption. Parent telephone surveys and a health behavior questionnaire measured psychosocial factors.

Results

The intervention increased lunchtime fruit consumption and combined fruit and vegetable consumption, lunchtime vegetable consumption among girls, and daily fruit consumption as well as the proportion of total daily calories attributable to fruits and vegetables.

Conclusions

Multicomponent school-based programs can increase fruit and vegetable consumption among children. Greater involvement of parents and more attention to increasing vegetable consumption, especially among boys, remain challenges in future intervention research. (Am J Public Health. 1998;88:603-609)

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