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To determine to what extent the Pick a Better Snack (PABS) lessons increase students’ knowledge of nutrition, increase favorable attitudes towards eating fresh fruits and vegetables (FV) and improves recognition/identification of the five MyPlate food groups compared to students who did not receive lessons.
Children are hesitant to try unfamiliar foods. The program aimed to increase nutritional knowledge and to improve attitudes and recognition of fresh FV through a monthly PABS lesson. Participants included 2nd and 3rd grade students at four elementary schools participating in the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program grant in Clark County School District, Las Vegas, during the 2017-2018 school year. Nine monthly lessons and a cooking demonstration were provided by a trained chef/registered dietician to the students (n = 380) in the intervention classrooms at each school, along with a monthly take home packet including FV fact sheets, parent newsletters in Spanish and English, and bingo cards to reinforce the lessons. Each school also had a control group (n = 99) that did not receive the lessons.
A two-level hierarchical linear model, in which classrooms (randomly assigned to intervention or control conditions) were nested within schools, was used to test the effect of the intervention on the posttest measures—nutrition knowledge (4 items; α = .48), MyPlate knowledge (4 items; α = .45), and attitudes towards FV (15 items; α = .77)—while controlling for pretest scores. The intervention group did not have higher increases in nutrition knowledge than the comparison group. However, the intervention group had higher increases in favorable attitudes towards FV than the comparison group, and higher increases in MyPlate knowledge than the comparison group.
Conclusions and Implications
Results demonstrate the effectiveness of PABS to increase students’ knowledge of MyPlate and increase favorable attitudes towards FV.