2012-2013 Research Projects
To determine if the intervention effect of the new NSLP guidelines that implements portion control improves fruit and vegetable intake among 3rd and 4th grade children compared to controls.
Compared to controls, a school-based intervention will decrease fruit and vegetable intake due to limited portions and child preferences.
Background: The National School Lunch Program has recently changed its requirements to follow The Dietary Guidelines for Americans. The new requirements aim to increase fruit, vegetable, and whole wheat consumption and implements portion control. Past research has proven to be successful in evaluating previous school-based interventions; however, there is minimal research to assess whether or not the new program, executed in the 2012-2013 school year, has been beneficial to the health of students.
Methods: Data was collected from 104 students (36 3rd graders, 68 4th graders) with a mean age of 9.48 years at Corbin Elementary School. A cross-sectional survey was distributed that contained 6 demographical questions and 11 questions pertaining to F/V consumption (frequency), portion control, and personal beliefs/education about fruits and vegetables. A Pearson correlation was conducted between F/V consumption at school and multiple variables pertaining to personal beliefs and portion size. An additional t-test was used to determine the association between weight and F/V consumption at school and home.
Results: It was concluded from the data that 67% of the students ate lunch at school and 35% brought their lunch from home. 32% of students reported that their fruit and vegetable consumption at school was around 1-3 times/week and 28% reported never eating them at school. When answering questions regarding portion control, over half reported that if given the option, they would consume more F/V at school (57%). Additionally, 68% said they did not feel full after lunch at school. There was a strong association between weight and a low F/V frequency at school (<6 times/week). No significant values were collected from the Pearson correlation.
Conclusion: While it was concluded that there wasn’t a strong correlation between F/V frequency and any of the portion size or personal belief variables, valuable information was collected regarding the students beliefs towards the new NSLP. The majority of students (~60%) reported eating 0-3 F/V per week at school, indicating the program isn’t benefiting the students.