Association between Food for Life, a Whole Setting Healthy and Sustainable Food Programme, and Primary School Children's Consumption of Fruit and Vegetables: A Cross-Sectional Study in England

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2017 Jun 14;14(6):639. doi: 10.3390/ijerph14060639.


The promotion of dietary health is a public health priority in England and in other countries. Research shows that the majority of children do not consume the recommended amount of fruit and vegetables (F&amp;V). There has been relatively little research on the impact of programmes, such as Food for Life, that (a) integrate action on nutrition and food sustainability issues, and (b) are delivered as commissions in a local authority area. The study sought to assess pupil F&amp;V in schools engaged with the Food for Life (FFL) programme. The design was a cross-sectional study comparing pupils in FFL engaged (n = 24) and non-engaged (n = 23) schools. A total of 2411 pupils aged 8-10 completed a validated self-report questionnaire. After adjusting for confounders, pupils in schools engaged with FFL consumed significantly more servings of F&amp;V compared to pupils in comparison schools (M = 2.03/1.54, p < 0.001). Pupils in FFL schools were twice as likely to eat five or more portions of F&amp;V per day (Odds Ratio = 2.07, p < 0.001, Confidence Interval = 1.54, 2.77). Total F&amp;V consumption was significantly higher (p < 0.05) amongst pupils in schools with a higher level FFL award. Whilst limitations include possible residual confounding, the study suggests primary school engagement with the FFL programme may be an effective way of improving children's dietary health.

Keywords: diet; fruit and vegetables; primary school children; sustainable food.

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Child Nutritional Physiological Phenomena*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Diet*
  • England
  • Female
  • Food Preferences
  • Food Services / statistics & numerical data
  • Fruit*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Program Evaluation
  • Schools
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Vegetables*

Associated data

  • figshare/10.6084/m9.figshare.3749457.v1