Preliminary findings from an evaluation of the USDA Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program in Wisconsin schools.

Department of Economics, University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, Eau Claire, WI 54702-4004, USA.
WMJ: official publication of the State Medical Society of Wisconsin 08/2008; 107(5):225-30.
Source: PubMed


In 2002, the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) created the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program (FFVP) to improve nutrition and help reduce the prevalence of childhood overweight and obesity. The FFVP provides funding for students from selected schools in each participating state to receive a free fresh fruit or vegetable snack daily for an academic year. In November 2005, Wisconsin was added to this program. In this study, we evaluate whether the Wisconsin FFVP resulted in positive changes in children's attitudes and behavior related to eating fruits and vegetables.
In 2006, 25 Wisconsin schools were selected by the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction for FFVP participation. Study measures included a pre-test and post-test survey given to 4th, 7th, and 9th graders in the intervention and controls schools. Post-test data from all 25 intervention schools were not yet available for analysis. Our sample, therefore, consisted of 1127 participants: 784 students in 10 intervention schools and 343 students in 10 control schools. Independent samples t tests and multivariate probit regression analyses were used to examine attitudinal and behavioral program effects.
Compared to controls, intervention students reported an increased willingness to try new fruits (24.8% versus 12.8%, P<0.01) and vegetables (25.1% versus 18.4%, P=0.01) at school.
Findings indicate positive changes in attitudes and behavior among children participating in the Wisconsin FFVP.

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    • "In a study of 25 schools in Wisconsin, intervention students reported an increased willingness to try new fruits and vegetables [17]. Moreover, 4th graders at the intervention schools were also more likely to choose a vegetable as a snack instead of chips/candy although these differences were not seen in children in older grades [17]. International studies of fruit distribution programs have also found positive benefits. "
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    ABSTRACT: Objectives. We evaluated the effects of a Department of Education Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program (FFVP) on food consumption habits in an inner-city, San Francisco high school. Methods. One intervention high school received a California state grant from the Department of Education to distribute fruit biweekly from fall 2008 to spring 2010 and coordinate associated nutrition education. Students completed 1793 surveys at the intervention school and 778 surveys at a comparison school that assessed fruit, vegetable, fast food and soda consumption habits. Pearson's chi-squared tests were used to compare consumption of foods. Results. At the end of the intervention period, the percentage of students consuming soft drinks once or more per day was significantly lower in the intervention versus comparison school (3.1% versus 8.9%, P = 0.01). Consumption of candy once or more per week was also lower in the intervention versus the comparison school in fall 2009 (55.7% versus 64.0%, P = 0.01). No significant changes in fruit and vegetable consumption were observed in the intervention or comparison schools. Conclusions. Fruit distribution programs in high schools may decrease high school students' consumption of soft drinks and candy.
    01/2012; 2012. DOI:10.5402/2012/252738
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    ABSTRACT: Consumption of fruit and vegetables among children is generally below recommended levels. This evaluation addressed two questions: (1) To what extent did children's attitudes toward, familiarity with, and preferences for fruit and vegetables change during the school year? and (2) To what extent did children's consumption of fruit and vegetables change during the school year? During the 2004-2005 school year, the Mississippi Department of Education, Child Nutrition Programs initiated a pilot program to distribute free fruit and vegetables to students (kindergarten through 12th grade) during the school day. Data were collected in 2004-2005 within a one-group pretest/posttest design using a self-report questionnaire (n=725) and 24-hour dietary recalls (n=207) with a sample of students from five schools in Mississippi. Data were analyzed in 2006-2007. Results showed greater familiarity with fruit and vegetables at all grade levels (p<0.05) and increased preferences for fruit among eighth- and 10th-grade students (p<0.01). Eighth-grade students also reported more positive attitudes toward eating fruit and vegetables (p<0.01), increased perceived self-efficacy to eat more fruit (p<0.01), and increased willingness to try new fruit. Finally, results showed increased consumption of fruit, but not vegetables, among eighth- and 10th-grade students (p<0.001). Distributing free fruit and vegetables at school may be a viable component of a more comprehensive approach for improving students' nutrition attitudes and behaviors. More program emphasis is needed on ways to promote vegetable consumption.
    Public Health Reports 09/2009; 124(5):660-9. · 1.55 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The purpose of this chapter was to review nutrition education in school-based childhood and adolescent obesity prevention programs. Problems of overweight and obesity have reached epidemic proportions in children and adolescents. With the large number of children and adolescents affected by overweight and obesity, it has been recognized as a critical public health threat, and prevention should become a priority. Schools have been considered an important venue for the delivery of health education programs since a majority of the nation's youth can be reached. Implementing a program in the school does not necessarily correspond to success, and therefore common components among successful nutrition education programs were examined. Providing age-appropriate, culturally sensitive instruction and materials were connected to the success of the programs. Success was also found when the nutrition education program was relevant to the student, and information was applicable to their everyday life. It was also critical to go beyond dissemination of knowledge and develop attitudes, skills, and behaviors to adopt, maintain, and enjoy healthy nutrition habits. Finally, recommendations were made to enhance the effectiveness of future school-based nutrition education programs.
    Nutritional education, Edited by I. R. Laidyth, 01/2010: pages 69-89; Nova Science Publishers.
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