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Appetite. 2007 Mar;48(2):248-58. Epub 2006 Nov 15.

Explaining school children's fruit and vegetable consumption: the contributions of availability, accessibility, exposure, parental consumption and habit in addition to psychosocial factors.

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Department of Health Education and Promotion, Universiteit Maastricht, Maastricht, The Netherlands.


We studied the contributions of parental fruit and vegetable (F&V) consumption, availability and accessibility of F&V in the home, exposure to F&V, and habit, in addition to psychosocial factors, in explaining F&V consumption in 4-12-year-old children. Furthermore, we looked for effect modification by ethnicity and gender. Children's parents (n = 1739) completed a questionnaire assessing psychosocial and additional factors regarding their children's F&V consumption. Consumption was assessed by a food-frequency questionnaire. The model explained the children's F&V consumption better when the additional factors were included (R2 = .49 and R2 = .50 for fruit consumption, and R2 = .33 and R2 = .33 for vegetable consumption). Stepwise multi-level regression analyses revealed that habit was the most influential correlate of F&V consumption. It is concluded that nutrition education interventions aimed at stimulating F&V consumption among children should take into account that the consumption of fruit and that of vegetables are clearly different behaviors, with different influencing factors for boys and girls and children of native or non-native background. Furthermore, interventions to increase F&V consumption should include strategies aimed at making these behaviors habitual.

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