Potential in-class strategies to increase children's vegetable consumption

Public Health Nutr. 2017 Jun;20(8):1491-1499. doi: 10.1017/S136898001700012X. Epub 2017 Feb 16.

Abstract

Objective: The Crunch&Sip programme is a school-based nutrition initiative designed to increase the fruit, vegetable and water intakes of primary-school children. In recognition of the notable deficits in children's vegetable consumption, the present study explored the receptivity of school staff to a realignment of the Crunch&Sip programme to feature a primary focus on vegetable consumption. This involved investigating school staff members' perceptions of relevant barriers, motivators and facilitators.

Design: A multi-method approach was adopted that involved four focus groups and a survey (administered in paper and online formats) containing a mixture of open- and closed-ended items.

Setting: Western Australia.

Subjects: Staff from Western Australian schools participated in the focus groups (n 37) and survey (n 620).

Results: School staff were strongly supportive of modifying the Crunch&Sip programme to focus primarily on children's vegetable consumption and this was generally considered to be a feasible change to implement. Possible barriers identified included children's taste preferences and a perceived lack of parental support. Suggested strategies to overcome these barriers were education sessions for parents and children, teachers modelling vegetable consumption for their students and integrating vegetable-related topics into the school curriculum.

Conclusions: School staff are likely to support the introduction of school-based nutrition programmes that specifically encourage the consumption of vegetables. Potential barriers may be overcome through strategies to engage parents and children.

Keywords: Childhood nutrition; School environment; School-based nutrition strategies; Vegetable consumption.

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Child Behavior
  • Child, Preschool
  • Choice Behavior*
  • Curriculum*
  • Diet
  • Female
  • Focus Groups
  • Food Preferences*
  • Food Services
  • Fruit
  • Health Education*
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Motivation
  • Nutrition Policy
  • Vegetables*
  • Western Australia