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MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2006 Sep 8;55(35):957-61.

Evaluation of a fruit and vegetable distribution program--Mississippi, 2004-05 school year.

Abstract

Although diets high in fruit and vegetables are associated with decreased risk for many chronic diseases, consumption of fruit and vegetables among children is below recommended levels. During the 2004-05 school year, the Mississippi Department of Education Child Nutrition Program initiated the Mississippi Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Pilot Program. The program was designed to 1) increase student access to fresh fruit and vegetables, 2) increase the degree of student preference for fruit and vegetables, and 3) increase fruit and vegetable consumption. The 25 schools selected to participate in the program distributed fresh fruit and vegetables free of charge during the school day and provided nutrition education activities to promote and support consumption of fruit and vegetables. An evaluation of the program was conducted using a pretest in the fall (before the program was implemented by the schools) and a posttest in the spring (at the end of the school year). This report summarizes the findings of that evaluation, which indicated that the program might have 1) increased the variety of fruit and vegetables ever tried by students from all three grades sampled (5th, 8th, and 10th); 2) increased the degree of preference for fruit among 8th-grade and 10th-grade students; 3) promoted positive attitudes toward eating fruit among 8th-grade students; 4) increased consumption of fruit, but not vegetables, among 8th-grade and 10th-grade students; and 5) decreased preference for fruit and vegetables, the belief that they could eat more vegetables, and willingness to try new fruit and vegetables among 5th-grade students. The results of this evaluation suggest that the distribution of fresh fruit at school free of charge to secondary school students might be an effective component of a comprehensive approach for improving student dietary behaviors; however, distribution of fresh vegetables might be more effective with changes in program implementation.

PMID:
16960549
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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