Testing a Beverage and Fruit/Vegetable Education Intervention in a University Dining Hall

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Abstract

Objective:

To test the effect of a nutrition intervention that included education and 2 labeling components on students' food choices.

Design:

Repeat cross-sectional study taking place on 6 dinner occasions before and 6 afterward.

Setting:

The study was conducted during dinner meals in a buffet-style dining hall in a university campus residence, where students paid a set price and consumed all they cared to eat.

Participants:

University students (n = 368 to 510) visited the cafeteria on each of the data collection dates.

Intervention:

Fruit and vegetable consumption were encouraged; sugar-sweetened beverage consumption was discouraged using physical activity calorie equivalent labeling.

Main Outcome Measures:

Beverage choices and vegetable/fruit bar visits.

Analysis:

Logistic regression was used to compare the proportion of student who selected each beverage, fruit, or vegetable before and after the intervention, while controlling for menu and gender as covariates.

Results:

There was a significant decrease in the proportion of students selecting a sugar-sweetened beverage before vs after the intervention (49% vs 41%, respectively; P = .004) and an increase in students choosing water (43% vs 54%, respectively; P < .001). There was a significant increase in students who took fruit after the intervention (36%; P < .001) vs before (30%). The number of students visiting the vegetable bar significantly increased from 60% to 72% (P < .001).

Conclusions:

This intervention may be a way to encourage healthy dietary choices in campus dining halls.

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