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Eur J Clin Nutr. 2009 May;63(5):613-8. doi: 10.1038/ejcn.2008.34. Epub 2008 May 21.

Increasing parental provision and children's consumption of lunchbox fruit and vegetables in Ireland: the Food Dudes intervention.

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



Previous research in the United Kingdom, where there is a school canteen system, has shown that the Food Dudes intervention substantially increases children's fruit and vegetable consumption. The current study evaluated its effectiveness in Ireland where school meals are not provided and children bring food to school in lunchboxes.


Participants were 4- to 11-year-old children attending two primary schools; the schools were randomly assigned to experimental or control conditions (n=228 and 207, respectively). During the 16-day intervention in the experimental school, children watched video adventures featuring the heroic Food Dudes, and received small rewards for eating fruit and vegetables provided. In both schools, parental provision and children's consumption of fruit and vegetables in the lunchboxes were assessed at baseline and 12-month follow-up (Lunchbox measures). Fruit and vegetables were provided in both schools over an 8-day baseline phase and the 16-day intervention, and children's consumption was measured (school-provided food measures).


Relative to baseline, consumption of the school-provided foods increased during the intervention in the experimental school (P<0.001), whereas in the control school it showed a significant decline. At 12-month follow-up, parents in the experimental school provided and their children consumed significantly more lunchbox fruit, vegetables and juice relative to baseline and to the control school (P<0.001 in all instances).


The Food Dudes intervention was effective in changing parental provision and children's consumption of lunchbox fruit and vegetables in Ireland.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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