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Eur J Clin Nutr. 2004 Dec;58(12):1649-60.

Increasing children's fruit and vegetable consumption: a peer-modelling and rewards-based intervention.

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  • 1School of Psychology, University of Wales, Bangor, UK.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To evaluate a peer-modelling and rewards-based intervention designed to increase children's fruit and vegetable consumption.

DESIGN:

Over a 5-month period, children in an experimental and a control school were presented with fruit and vegetables at lunchtime. Children aged 5-7 y also received fruit at snacktime (mid-morning). The intervention was implemented in the experimental school and levels of fruit and vegetable consumption were measured at baseline, intervention and at 4-month follow-up.

SETTING:

Two inner-city London primary schools.

SUBJECTS:

In total, 749 children aged 5-11 y.

INTERVENTION:

Over 16 days children watched video adventures featuring heroic peers (the Food Dudes) who enjoy eating fruit and vegetables, and received small rewards for eating these foods themselves. After 16 days there were no videos and the rewards became more intermittent.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES:

Consumption was measured (i) at lunchtime using a five-point observation scale; (ii) at snacktime using a weighed measure; (iii) at home using parental recall.

RESULTS:

Compared to the control school, lunchtime consumption in the experimental school was substantially higher at intervention and follow-up than baseline (P<0.001), while snacktime consumption was higher at intervention than baseline (P<0.001). The lunchtime data showed particularly large increases among those who initially ate very little. There were also significant increases in fruit and vegetable consumption at home (P<0.05).

CONCLUSIONS:

The intervention was effective in bringing about substantial increases in children's consumption of fruit and vegetables.

PMID:
15252421
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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