Evaluation of a school-based multicomponent nutrition education program to improve young children's fruit and vegetable consumption

J Nutr Educ Behav. Jul-Aug 2012;44(4):310-8. doi: 10.1016/j.jneb.2011.10.005. Epub 2012 May 10.


Objective: To assess the impact of a multicomponent nutrition education program on student knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors related to consumption of fruits and vegetables (FVs).

Design: Quasi-experimental pretest/posttest research design; 3 study conditions (Intervention+, Intervention, Comparison).

Setting: Six schools from the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD).

Participants: Three hundred ninety-nine low-income third-, fourth-, and fifth-grade students.

Intervention: The Intervention+ condition included 4 components: traditional Network-LAUSD program, new standardized nutrition curriculum, teacher training workshops, and parent nutrition education workshops. The Intervention condition included 2 components: traditional Network-LAUSD program and teacher training workshops.

Main outcome measures: Fruit and vegetable consumption, knowledge of food groups, attitudes and beliefs toward FVs, and parent/teacher influence on students' attitudes toward FVs.

Analysis: Linear mixed models.

Results: The Intervention+ resulted in a positive change in knowledge (P < .05), attitudes and beliefs toward vegetables (P < .01), and teacher influence on students' FV attitudes (P < .05).

Conclusions and implications: Although this study influenced knowledge and attitudes regarding FVs, a significant increase in students' FV consumption was not observed. Given the ultimate aim of the LAUSD nutrition efforts is to increase FV consumption, future studies should consider adopting new intervention strategies, such as focusing on changing the school food environment.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Feeding Behavior*
  • Female
  • Fruit*
  • Health Education / methods*
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Health Promotion / methods*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Program Evaluation
  • Schools
  • Vegetables*