Online Program

Book-based nutritional literacy affects preschoolers' nutritional knowledge and willingness to consume fruits and vegetables

Monday, November 4, 2013

Ailton Coleman, MPH, CPH, Center for Public Health and Health Policy, University of Connecticut,Storrs;University of Connecticut Health Center, Farmington, East Hartford, CT
Susan Coleman, Center for Public Health and Health Policy, University of Connecticut Health Center, Farmington, East Hartford, CT
Ann M. Ferris, PhD, RD, Center for Public Health and Health Policy, University of Connecticut, Storrs; University of Connecticut Health Center, Farmington, East Hartford, CT
Introduction: This evaluation examined the effectiveness of a nutrition literacy program in changing nutritional knowledge and willingness of preschool aged children (3-5yrs old) to try fresh fruits and vegetables. Health educators read nutrition-themed books to preschoolers, provided food tastings and conducted activities that support the basic nutrition for 10 weeks in a pre-school setting. Methods: The evaluator used pre/post-test surveys to conduct a summative evaluation. The evaluation used a 23-item survey to record preschool students' ability to identify two fruits and two vegetables. Additionally, the evaluator recorded the number of students that consumed the fruits and vegetables after identifying the items. Lastly, the evaluator observed potential factors that may influence preschooler's participation such as emotional state and the amount time since the last feeding. The evaluation occurred in 22 classrooms with 282 student observations in Hartford, CT. Evaluator conducted the analysis at the classroom level. Results: Many preschoolers could not identify common fruits and vegetables at the start of the program; only 66% could identify carrots or blueberries, only 71% could identify strawberries and only 72% could identify broccoli. Students' recognition of strawberries (81%), blueberries (79%), carrots (78%), and broccoli (75%) increased by the completion of the program. At post-testing, students' ability to identify fruit correlated with consumption of the fruit [strawberries r(20)=.44, p=<.05, blueberries r(20)=.14, p<.05] however, the correlation between vegetable recognition and consumption was non-significant [broccoli r(20)=-.275, p=n.s., carrots r(20)=.006, p=n.s.]. Conclusion: Nutrition literacy programs may effectively increase fruit recognition and consumption among preschoolers.

Learning Areas:

Administer health education strategies, interventions and programs
Conduct evaluation related to programs, research, and other areas of practice

Learning Objectives:
Describe the changes in willingness of preschoolers to try new fruits and vegetables over time. Demonstrate understanding in the area of developing nutrition literacy strategies for preventing and managing childhood obesity at the school level. Create strategies for evaluations school-based interventions.

Keyword(s): Nutrition, School-Based Programs

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I participated in the evaluation design and implementation. Additionally,I was responsible for the data interpretation and dissemination of study results
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.