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[ Recorded presentation ] Recorded presentation

Strategies to increase children’s fruit and vegetable consumption: The Growing Healthy Project

Virginia R Chomitz, PhD1, Jennifer E. Burden2, Juhee Kim, MS1, and Karen Ann Hacker, MD, MPH1. (1) Institute for Community Health, 119 Windsor St., Ground Level, Cambridge, MA 02139, 617-665-3807, vchomitz@challiance.org, (2) Department of Nutrition, Harvard School of Public Health, 677 Huntington Ave., Boston, MA 02115

Growing Healthy is a collaborative school-based fruit and vegetable (F&V) promotion currently underway (2003-2004 school-year) in 7 K-8 Cambridge and Somerville, Massachusetts schools. The communities are diverse (56% white, 22% African American, 12% Latino). 40% of Cambridge and 58% of Somerville students qualify for free or reduced-cost school meals. 19.5% of 5-14 year olds are overweight.

Urban and low SES children are disproportionately affected by the obesity epidemic, have low consumption of F&V, and may be unaware of the agricultural origins of food, seasonality, and the pleasures of fresh, in-season produce. Processed, convenience foods further remove children from food systems.

Growing Healthy addresses these issues through cafeteria and garden-based interventions, creating a positive F&V environment. 1) Cafeterias are learning laboratories where students taste-test F&V monthly (to date: cherry tomatoes, corn-on-the-cob, apples, spinach, pumpkin, cranberries, baked potatoes, pears, fresh-squeezed juice, sweet potatoes), vote on their preferences for sampled items, and explore interactive F&V cafeteria displays. 2) Garden programs partner with teachers and school staff, collaborate with local farmers, chefs and school food service to bring children the experience of growing, preparing and eating F&V.

The purpose of this presentation is to 1) Demonstrate an innovative approach to combating some of the most pressing health issues facing today’s youth, 2) Discuss key findings, including a baseline assessment of student attitudes towards F&V and food service, knowledge about F&V and gardening, F&V preferences, F&V consumption, and F&V access, 3) Discuss results of ongoing process evaluation revealing receptivity of students to program elements.

Learning Objectives:

Keywords: School-Based Programs,

Presenting author's disclosure statement:
I do not have any significant financial interest/arrangement or affiliation with any organization/institution whose products or services are being discussed in this session.

[ Recorded presentation ] Recorded presentation

Increasing Fruit and Vegetable Consumption: What's New?

The 132nd Annual Meeting (November 6-10, 2004) of APHA