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Int J Epidemiol. 2007 Oct;36(5):1080-5. Epub 2007 Jun 29.

Does participation in a population-based dietary intervention scheme have a lasting impact on fruit intake in young children?

Author information

1
Division of Epidemiology and Public Health, University of Nottingham. andrew.fogarty@nottingham.ac.uk

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

The National Schools Fruit Scheme (NSFS) is intended to improve fruit intake in young children by providing free daily fruit at school.

METHODS:

We used a parentally completed questionnaire for three consecutive years to study fruit intake in young children before, during and after participation in the NSFS compared with a control region.

RESULTS:

In 2003, 2004 and 2005, a total of 224, 220 and 179 schools, respectively, were studied with responses from 5,606, 5,111 and 3,382 children for each survey. Between 2003 and 2004, individual fruit consumption in the intervention region increased by more (from a median of 7.5 to 14.0 pieces/week) than in the control region (from a median of 9.2-11.0 pieces/week), resulting in a difference (P < 0.001) between the two regions in 2004. However, after ceasing to be eligible for the NSFS, fruit intake in children in the intervention region fell to a median of 12 pieces per week, lower than that in the control region (median value of 14 pieces per week, P = 0.02).

CONCLUSIONS:

School-based fruit distribution schemes providing free fruit at school appear to be an effective means of increasing dietary fruit intake in young children, including those who live in relatively socio-economically deprived areas. However, this approach does not influence fruit intake after the provision of free fruit ends, so schemes may need to be sustained to provide the maximum benefit to young children.

PMID:
17602183
DOI:
10.1093/ije/dym133
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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