Nutrition education intervention improves vegetable-related attitude, self-efficacy, preference, and knowledge of fourth-grade students

J Sch Health. 2012 Jan;82(1):37-43. doi: 10.1111/j.1746-1561.2011.00665.x.


Background: Impact of a classroom-based, standardized intervention to address limited vegetable consumption of fourth graders was assessed.

Methods: A 4-lesson, vegetable-focused intervention, revised from extant materials was repurposed for Pennsylvania fourth graders with lessons aligned with state academic standards. A reliability-tested survey was modified, then examined for face and content validity and test-retest reliability. Lessons and evaluation materials were modified through an iterative testing process with educator feedback. A nonequivalent control group design was stratified by local Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Education (SNAP-Ed) partnering organizations with random assignment of participating elementary schools as control (N = 68) or intervention (N = 72) treatments. Independent t-tests compared control and intervention group changes. A mixed effects model was created to account for classroom effects from the nested sampling method of selecting classrooms within SNAP-Ed partnering organizations. General linear model univariate analyses of variance were conducted to assess intervention effects considering gender, and food preparation/cooking experience.

Results: During a 3- to 5-week time frame, 57 intervention classrooms (N = 1047 students) and 51 control classrooms (N = 890) completed pre- and post-testing. Intervention students improved in vegetable-related attitude, self-efficacy, preference, and knowledge scores (p < .001). For example, intervention vegetable preference increased 1.56 ± 5.80 points; control group mean increase was only 0.08 ± 4.82 points. Group differences in score changes were not affected by gender or interactions between gender and food preparation/cooking experience with family.

Conclusions: A defined intervention delivered in a SNAP-Ed setting can positively impact mediators associated with vegetable intake for fourth-grade students.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Child Nutrition Sciences / education*
  • Child Nutritional Physiological Phenomena
  • Female
  • Food Preferences / psychology*
  • Health Behavior
  • Health Education / methods*
  • Health Promotion / methods*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Pennsylvania
  • Program Evaluation
  • Schools
  • Self Efficacy*
  • Students / psychology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Vegetables*