Increasing Children's Fruit and Vegetable Consumption Using Nutrition Education and Active Choice Principles


      To increase children's fruit and vegetable consumption using nutrition education and active choice principles.

      Study Design, Setting, Participants, Intervention

      The study used pre-/post-intervention comparison design. The intervention utilized a dual module of the Social Cognitive Theory (SCT) and active choice (AC) for second graders in one school in Northern, NJ. For nine months, the intervention group received a combination of nutrition education and AC; the control group received AC. AC allowed the participants to choose between two fruits and/or vegetables.

      Outcome Measures and Analysis

      Variables measured included fruit/vegetable preference, consumption, reciprocal determinism, self-efficacy, behavioral capability, and modeling from SCT. Paired/independent t-tests, chi-square analyses were employed to compare groups.


      Eighty-nine students participated in the study (intervention=46, control=43): 57% female and 43% males; mean age 7.64 (SD 0.48). No change was observed in fruit consumption. Vegetable consumption and preference differed after intervention between groups: for consumption (self-efficacy), 6.5% increase for intervention and 4.5% decrease for control (p= .01); for preference, 4.3% increase for intervention and 2.4% decrease for control (p=.57). Similarly, knowledge (behavior capability) of fruit/vegetables increased 4.3% in intervention, but decreased 2.4% in control (p=.14). All students were engaged within AC even if they did not take a fruit/vegetable that day.

      Conclusions and Implications

      Nutrition education combined with AC had a positive impact on knowledge and vegetable consumption/preference in the intervention group. A longer invention duration with multiple locations may grow the study validity for innovative program to be implemented throughout school districts nationwide.


      Jennifer Layne Acupuncture and Wellness; ShopRite of Rochelle Park, NJ

      Supplementary data