Online Program

Fruit and Vegetable Intake Exceeds National Average Among Food Pantry Clients

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Gail Kaye, PhD, RD, LD, LPCC, Health Behavior Health Promotion, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH
Amy Headings, PhD, RD, LD, Nutrition, Mid-Ohio Foodbank, Grove City, OH
Matthew Kretovics, MPH, Internal Medicine, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH

Increased dietary intake of fruits and vegetables is associated with lower risk of chronic diseases. However, most Americans don’t meet dietary guidelines for fruit and vegetable (FV) consumption, particularly those in low income categories.  MyPlate messages were developed to remind consumers to ‘make half your plate fruits and vegetables.’  The purpose of this study was to evaluate the impact of the MyPlate icon and this consumer message on dietary intake of FV in food pantry clients. 


The study was a quasi-experimental, non-equivalent, control group design.   Participants from three pantries (providing weekly access to fresh fruits and vegetables) were randomly assigned to intervention or control group.   Intervention participants received laminated copies of MyPlate and consumer message, ‘make half your plate fruits and vegetables’ to be viewed daily at home for 1 month.  

Outcomes measured (baseline, study end):  FV intake, perceived diet healthfulness, FV behavioral intention. 


79 participants met study criteria and were randomized; 53 completed follow up assessments.   No significant differences in FV consumption (p<.53), FV behavioral intention (p <.9) and perceived diet healthfulness (p< .3) were found between intervention and control groups. 


This study is first of its kind to examine effects of daily exposure to MyPlate and consumer message on FV intake in food pantry clients.  Though the MyPlate icon and consumer message did not impact intake, regular access to FV may have contributed to reported consumption of 4 servings of FV daily – nearly 1 serving greater than US average of 3.04.

Learning Areas:

Chronic disease management and prevention
Diversity and culture
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Compare recommendations for daily FV consumption with US national average and food pantry clients as reported in this study Name MyPlate consumer message designed to encourage FV intake Describe potential impact of regular access to fresh FV on food pantry clients reported FV intake

Keyword(s): Food Security, Nutrition

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I was the faculty research adviser for this project. I am also a registered and licensed dietitian.
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.