Access With Education Improves Fruit and Vegetable Intake in Preschool Children.


Department of Human Sciences, College of Behavioral and Health Sciences, Middle Tennessee State University, Murfreesboro, TN. Electronic address: [Email]


OBJECTIVE : To compare effects of interventions aimed at increasing fruit and vegetable (FV) intake in children.
METHODS : Pre-post comparison and intervention study with randomly grouped classrooms.
METHODS : Head Start classrooms.
METHODS : Two hundred nine Head Start children.
METHODS : Treatment A (n = 61) and treatment B (n = 82) children received high-carotenoid FVs for 8 weeks. Treatment B children also received weekly FV education, and their caregivers received FV information and recipes. The comparison group (n = 66) received neither FVs nor education.
METHODS : Carotenoid values in Raman units.
METHODS : Multilevel mixed models, ANCOVA, and post hoc analysis were used.
RESULTS : Multilevel mixed models with the group as fixed effect and classrooms within group as a random effect; ANCOVA showed that the only significant variable affecting the score was the group main effect. The intraclass correlation coefficient was 0.037; the Raman unit scores of treatment B were significantly higher than those of treatment A (P = .02) or comparison group (P < .001). However, there was no significant difference between treatment A and comparison (P = .10; Cohen D = .71).
CONCLUSIONS : The results suggested that providing education where FVs are offered may help increase consumption. Measurement of carotenoids in family members who received FVs plus education, as well as replication of this model in different locations and ages of children should be investigated in future research.


Head Start children,carotenoids,education,food access,fruits and vegetables,

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