248913 Farm to school programs impact fruit and vegetable consumption among girls and boys

Monday, October 31, 2011: 11:06 AM

Erin Buckwalter, MS Candidate , Department of Community Development and Applied Economics, University of Vermont, Burlington, VT, VT
Jane Kolodinsky, PhD , Community Development and Applied Economics, University of Vermont, Burlington, VT
Erin Roche, MS Candidate , Center for Rural Studies, University of Vermont, Burlington, VT, VT
INTRODUCTION: Childhood overweight and obesity is affecting American youth at an increasing rate. Children who eat more fruits and vegetables may have a lower risk of overweight. Social Cognitive Theory (SCT) provides a framework of how to change children's dietary preferences and behaviors. Farm-To-School (FTS) programs incorporate many of the key elements of the SCT and are one intervention that schools are using to address the obesity epidemic. A 2010 evaluation of FTS programs in Vermont provides data on how FTS interventions affect fruit and vegetable consumption among 9-13 year olds. METHODS: A pen and pencil survey was administered with adult supervision to 632 Vermont students at ten schools with FTS programs. Cluster analysis and structural equation modeling was used to determine whether and how component variables of the SCT influence children's likelihood of meeting dietary guidelines. Further analysis investigated whether and how gender influences the impact of each variable in the SCT model. RESULTS: Preliminary analysis indicates that social norms and self-efficacy are two areas to target in farm to school interventions to influence dietary changes, parental influence has a strong effect, and the effect of social norms influence the behavior of boys and girls differently. DISCUSSION: Components of FTS programs play a role in influencing children's dietary behaviors related to fruit and vegetable consumption. This evaluation provides a step toward understanding which interventions are likely to influence fruit and vegetable consumption and suggests that different interventions might be needed to influence consumption behaviors of boys versus girls.

Learning Areas:
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs

Learning Objectives:
1. Evaluate the effectiveness of FTS programs to affect change in fruit and vegetable consumption. 2. Compare how effective these interventions are when accounting for gender differences.

Keywords: Health Education, School Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am oversee evaluations for the Center for Rural Studies where I am director as well as oversee all research in the Department of Community Development and Applied Economics which I chair.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.