Access versus attitude: Determining influences on fruit and vegetable intake of fifth grade students
Gardner, Julie G
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Obesity rates are at the highest ever with 39.8% of American adults and 18.5% of Americans aged 6 to 19 years considered obese (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC], 2018a; CDC, 2018c; Hales, Carroll, Fryar, & Ogden, 2017). Obesity is a serious health concern that increases the risk for chronic disease as well as psychological issues (CDC, 2018c; Dauchet, Amouyel, Hercberg, & Dallongville, 2006; Litwin, 2014). Improved fruit and vegetable intake reduces risk for weight gain; however, many Americans fail to get the recommended daily intake (World Health Organization [WHO], 2014). Additionally, a person’s positive attitude toward consumption, as well as access to healthy foods impacts eating habits and patterns. This study examined the school-based intervention Grow into Health (GIH) and its attempt to improve fruit and vegetable (FV) intake. The study examined how attitude and perceptions of access to healthy foods may affect FV intake. Over 700 students participated in the intervention. This study utilized pre- and post-survey data to analyze the intervention, attitude, and perceptions of access as predictors of improved FV intake. Although, the program was designed to improve knowledge and behavior related to fruit and vegetable consumption, analysis of the data found no statistically significant impact which provides opportunity for future researchers to learn. School-based interventions should include a comprehensive approach which should be long term and involve educational, environmental, and physical strategies (Brown et al., 2016). The strategies must include input from a comprehensive personnel team including classroom teachers, family members, and student support systems (Brown et al., 2016; Mahmood, Perveen, Dino, & Mehraj, 2014; Mei et al., 2016; Mukamana & Johri, 2016). The GIH intervention was restricted by internal and external limitations which contributed to the absence of statistical significance. Researchers should invest time in survey design and intervention planning to better understand content, evaluation and data analysis to improve program efficiency and outcomes.