JCN&M Study Finds Intervention from Teachers, Increased Elementary School Student’s Fruit and Vegetable Snack Consumption by 33%


The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program (FFVP) provides fruits and vegetables for snacks, free of charge to elementary school children for 2 to 4 days per week. But, according to USDA, the prevalence of obesity among children has increased dramatically in recent years, suggesting that they are getting more calories than they need, with fruit and vegetable consumption below recommended levels. What will motivate children to bring and consume fruits and vegetable snacks to school on days when they are not involved in the FFVA program?

A new study published in The Journal of Child Nutrition & Management, demonstrates the important role teachers can play by providing classroom incentives, prompting and role modeling that will encourage children to bring and consume fruits and vegetable snacks on the days when free FFVA snacks are not provided. The objective of Increasing Fruit and Vegetable Consumption During Elementary School Snack Periods Using Incentives, Prompting and Role Modeling, authored by Lori A. Bica, PhD; Eric M. Jamelske, PhD; Carla H. Lagorio, PhD, was to evaluate the effectiveness of several behavioral and environmental prompts to increase the proportion of students bringing and consuming fruit and vegetable snacks from home on non-FFVP days. The study, conducted by 5th and 6th grade students and teachers at a Wisconsin elementary school, found student’s consumption of fruit and vegetable snacks increased on non-FFVP days from 7% to 40% through successful teacher intervention.

Readers of the study will discover the findings compelling, because they can provide a framework for school staff to expand the reach of the FFVP beyond the free availability of fruit and vegetable snacks on specified days. Despite many constraints facing teachers and schools, the authors believe, these types of intervention can be feasibly implemented with minimal time and resources.

About The Journal of Child Nutrition & Management
The Journal of Child Nutrition & Management (JCN&M) is the exclusive source for research findings in this profession, and it features a variety of studies in the following four categories: Commentary, Current Issues, Research in Action and Practical Solutions. Published twice a year, this peer-reviewed research journal is available free of charge, online only. Read the current issue today.

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