263415 Fun with produce: Successes of a fruit and vegetable taste testing program

Monday, October 29, 2012

Abigail Atkins, MSW , Research and Evaluation Department, Health Resources in Action, Inc., Troy, NY
Lisa S. Wolff, ScD , Research and Evaluation Department, Health Resources in Action, Inc., Boston, MA
Angelica Negrete , Coordinated School Health, El Paso Independent School District, El Paso, TX
Catherine Vowell, MBA , Health Programs, El Paso Independent School District, El Paso, TX
With funding from a Carol M. White Education Grant, the El Paso Independent School District developed a fruit and vegetable taste testing program. This collaborative program among classroom teachers and school food service staff aims to teach students about fruits and vegetables, to provide opportunities to taste the food in its raw form, and to increase the number of servings of fruits and vegetables consumed in a school day. A mixed methods evaluation with a pre/post testes and qualitative data collection was implemented to evaluate the program. In year one (2010-2011), over 2,300 2nd grade students have taken part in on-line surveying to assess their knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors related to fruits and vegetables. Focus groups and interviews were conducted with parents, teachers, food service staff, and administrators. This presentation will discuss the program implementation and evaluation findings such as: in the first year there were significant improvements in the percentage of students who correctly identified the total number of servings that should be consumed in a day and significant increase in the appeal of the fruits and vegetables to the students. The presentation will also discuss the success and challenges of implementing the program in a large school district, the impact of the program on the foods provided in the school cafeteria, as well as ways to incorporate evaluation strategies to yield valid results while aiming to minimize teacher and student burden.

Learning Areas:
Administer health education strategies, interventions and programs

Learning Objectives:
Describe programming aimed to improve studentsí attitudes and behaviors on consuming fruits and vegetables Identify successes and challenges to collaborations among classroom teachers and school food service staff Identify innovative ways to evaluate programming

Keywords: Nutrition, School Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have been the lead or co-evaluator for multiple school and community health program evaluations. I am the Assistant Director, Research and Evaluation at Health Resources in Action. My MSW in Community Organization, Social Policy and Planning is from Boston College Graduate School of Social Work. I have presented at several national professional conferences.
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.