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J Nutr Educ Behav. 2014 Sep-Oct;46(5):341-9. doi: 10.1016/j.jneb.2014.04.297. Epub 2014 Jun 18.

Farm to elementary school programming increases access to fruits and vegetables and increases their consumption among those with low intake.

Author information

1
Department of Nutritional Sciences, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI. Electronic address: ayoder@wisc.edu.
2
Wisconsin Department of Health Services, Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity Prevention Program, Madison, WI.
3
School of Health Care Professions, University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, Stevens Point, WI.
4
Wisconsin Obesity Prevention Network, School of Medicine and Public Health, Institute for Clinical and Translational Research, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI.
5
Department of Nutritional Sciences, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI.
6
Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection, Madison, WI.
7
Department of Family Medicine, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To assess the effectiveness of Wisconsin Farm to School (F2S) programs in increasing students' fruit and vegetable (FV) intake.

DESIGN:

Quasi-experimental baseline and follow-up assessments: knowledge and attitudes survey, food frequency questionnaire (FFQ), and lunch tray photo observation.

SETTING:

Wisconsin elementary schools: 1 urban and 8 rural.

PARTICIPANTS:

Children, grades 3-5 (n = 1,117; 53% male, 19% non-Caucasian).

INTERVENTION(S):

Farm to School programming ranging from Harvest of the Month alone to comprehensive, including school garden, locally sourced produce in school meals, and classroom lessons.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES:

Knowledge, attitudes, exposure, liking, willingness; FFQ-derived (total), and photo-derived school lunch FV intake.

ANALYSIS:

t tests and mixed modeling to assess baseline differences and academic-year change.

RESULTS:

Higher willingness to try FV (+1%; P < .001) and knowledge of nutrition/agriculture (+1%; P < .001) (n = 888), and lunch FV availability (+6% to 17%; P ≤ .001) (n = 4,451 trays), both with increasing prior F2S program exposure and across the year. There was no effect on overall dietary patterns (FFQ; n = 305) but FV consumption increased among those with the lowest intakes (FFQ, baseline very low fruit intake, +135%, P < .001; photos: percentage of trays with no FV consumption for continuing programs decreased 3% to 10%, P ≤ .05).

CONCLUSIONS AND IMPLICATIONS:

Farm to School programming improved mediators of FV consumption and decreased the proportion of children with unfavorable FV behaviors at school lunch. Longer-term data are needed to further assess F2S programs.

KEYWORDS:

child; diet; educational activities; farm; overweight; school

PMID:
24953435
DOI:
10.1016/j.jneb.2014.04.297
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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