266530 Assessing student knowledge and attitudes regarding locally grown foods

Tuesday, October 30, 2012 : 3:10 PM - 3:30 PM

Katherine J. Roberts, EdD, MPH, MCHES , Department of Health and Behavior Studies, Teachers College, Columbia University, New York, NY
Jacqueline Lawler, MPH, CPH , Nursing Department, Orange County Health Department, Goshen, NY
Danielle Moser, MEd , Community Health Outreach, Orange County Health Department, Newburgh, NY
INTRODUCTION: Farm to School programs not only serve locally grown produce in schools but also aim to improve student nutrition, provide educational opportunities by connecting the local agriculture landscape to students, and to support local farmers. METHODS: Prior to a Farm to School program being fully implemented in a New York suburban school district, a random sample of 170 students from two middle schools and a high school completed a survey assessing students' knowledge and attitudes regarding locally grown foods. RESULTS: Although locally grown fruits and vegetables were currently available during lunch, results indicated that the majority (75%) of students were not aware of this. The majority (62%) reported that they would like to see more locally grown foods available at their school and 53% reported that they would be more likely to eat foods if they knew they were locally grown. In addition, most (71%) students would like to see signs telling them where the food is from. Almost all (92%) of students reported that they believed that good nutrition is important for academic success. There were no significant differences by gender or grade. DISCUSSION: To assist students in making informed decisions regarding healthy food choices signs should be available that provide information on where the food originated from, specifically highlighting the foods that come from local farmers. Providing locally grown foods and increasing awareness of these foods can lead to increased consumption of locally grown fruits and vegetables, which in turn can improve the nutritional intake of students.

Learning Areas:
Administer health education strategies, interventions and programs
Public health or related education

Learning Objectives:
1. Identify at least one attitude of secondary students regarding locally grown foods; 2. Describe strategies of increasing consumption of locally grown foods by secondary school students; and 3. Discuss the implications of increasing awareness of the availability of locally grown foods.

Keywords: Food and Nutrition, School-Based Programs

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am an Adjunct Associate Professor at Teachers College, Columbia University in the Department of Health and Behavior Studies where I teach health education and related courses
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.