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University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire An Evaluation of the USDA Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Pilot Program in Wisconsin Schools Anjali Anand and Beth Lutz Undergraduate Students University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire Eric Jamelske, Ph.D.

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an evaluation of the usda fresh fruit and vegetable pilot program in wisconsin schools

University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire

An Evaluation of the USDA Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Pilot Program in Wisconsin Schools

Anjali Anand and Beth Lutz

Undergraduate Students

University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire

Eric Jamelske, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor, Economics Department University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire

Lori Bica, Ph.D.

Associate Professor, Psychology Department

University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire

overview
Overview
  • Motivation & introduction
  • Fresh fruit and vegetable program
  • Evaluation process
  • Willingness to try new fruits & vegetables
  • Changes in consumption for low intake students
  • Teacher & parent surveys
  • Discussion & future research
introduction
Introduction
  • Overweight is now the most common medical condition of childhood in the United States, with the prevalence having more than doubled over the past 20 years
  • Poor nutrition, including inadequate fruit and vegetable consumption amongst children and adolescents, remains a central cause
  • In 2002, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program (FFVP) was created to improve nutrition and help combat childhood obesity
introduction4
Introduction
  • In November 2005, Wisconsin was added as an expansion state
  • 25 schools provided daily fruit and vegetable snacks to students in combination with nutrition education
  • We evaluate whether this program resulted in positive changes in attitude and behavior in terms of eating fruits and vegetables
evaluation process
Evaluation Process
  • Pre-program survey March 2006 (4th, 7th, 9th grades)*
  • Post-program survey I May, June 2006 (4th, 7th, 9th grades)*
  • Post-program survey II March 2007 (5th, 8th, 10th grades)
  • 25 program and 10 control schools
  • Monthly food service reports
  • Teacher and parent surveys (5th grade)*
sample
Sample
  • Pretest sample of 2,863
    • 2,287 treatment 576 control
  • Posttest data entered for a subset of full sample
  • Further limited to only those with both pretest and posttest responses to survey questions that are the focus of this study
  • 1,127 participants
    • 784 in 10 treatment schools & 343 in 10 control schools
measurement evaluation
Measurement & Evaluation
  • Indicator variable equal to 1 for those students with a positive change between the pre-test and post-test and 0 otherwise
measurement evaluation13
Measurement & Evaluation
  • Probit regression analysis
    • gender, race/ethnicity, grade, physical activity, TV/video game limits, family dinners, and fast-food consumption
  • Treatment students were 12.1 percentage points more likely to report increased willingness to try a new fruit at school (p < 0.01)
  • Treatment students were 6.7 percentage points more likely to report increased willingness to try a new vegetable at school (p = 0.02)
measurement evaluation15
Measurement & Evaluation
  • Students reported their eating patterns using a list of food items, including 39 fruits and vegetables, for three consecutive days
  • Calculated each student's average daily fruit and vegetable intake for the three-day period
  • Subset of students who reported average daily fruit and vegetable intake of one or less on the pretest
measurement evaluation16
Measurement & Evaluation
  • Indicator variable equal to 1 for those students with a positive change between the pretest and posttest and 0 otherwise
  • Positive change was defined as an increase in average daily fruit and vegetable intake of at least 0.2 from pretest to posttest
  • The mean of this new variable measures the percent of students that increased their average daily fruit and vegetable consumption between the pretest and posttest
measurement evaluation18
Measurement & Evaluation
  • A probit regression analysis with controls
  • Treatment students who reported low consumption initially were 19.5 percentage points more likely than control school students to report increased average daily intake of fruits and vegetables (p = 0.07)
  • 4th grade treatment students (n = 40) were 29.7 percentage points more likely than control students (n = 17) to report increased average daily fruit and vegetable intake (p = 0.05)
findings
Findings
  • We find a difference between the groups in willingness to try new fruits and vegetables at school, but not at home
  • These findings are not surprising given that school is where students are exposed to the new foods and where they are engaging in activities designed to promote fruits and vegetables
  • We find some evidence of a difference between the groups in increased average daily fruit and vegetable intake among students with low initial consumption
  • Positive program impacts were largest among 4th graders
findings20
Findings
  • Long term program success will require impacting both attitude and behavior beyond school and into the home
  • We anticipate that differences in attitudes toward trying new fruits and vegetables at home will emerge with longer exposure to the program
  • We also anticipate that differences in average daily fruit and vegetable intake will grow with longer exposure to the program
future research plans
Future Research Plans
  • Also important for program success is the commitment and support of school personnel and administration
  • We conducted surveys of 5th grade teachers (N=38, 15 schools) and parents (N=256, 15 schools) in May 2007
  • 1,100 fifth grade students in 16 schools
  • 52 fifth grade teachers in 16 schools
teacher comments
Teacher Comments
  • We talked about nutrition, good snacks vs. bad snacks.
  • We had 1/2 a pg. color sheets…they colored it the color of the snack too, to see if they were getting diverse variety of nutrients.
  • We have a food pyramid & connect to it…we cooked some items and tried recipes.
  • Students looked forward to the snacks...actually they seemed to work harder and with more focus.
  • We discussed the nutritional value of fruits & veggies to our bodies.
  • Our kitchen staff sent emails about the nutrients & the students in my class would look up what the nutrients help in our body.
parent comments
Parent Comments
  • On weekends fruits and veggies are now also the snack of choice.
  • My son loves fruits and veggies now.
  • I only wish it had been offered earlier…
  • It has helped to reinforce what I've tried to do at home…they've accepted what I'm saying more readily.
  • When children see other kids eating fruits and vegetables, it makes them want to eat them too.
  • As parents, we love the fruit and vegetable program.
  • My son wants me to tell you, Please Don't Stop!
  • It lets him try a variety of fruits and vegetables we might not always buy at home.
  • Great Program! Builds awareness of healthy eating habits. Reinforces the message we give at home!
conclusions
Conclusions
  • Both parents and teachers like the program and perceive that students also like the program
  • Parents report students trying more new fruits and vegetables and eating more fruits and vegetables overall
  • Almost half of parents report their children asking to buy more fruits and vegetables
  • Nutrition education activities in the classroom and parental involvement in the program are lower than desired
future research
Future Research
  • Analyze program effects after one year
  • Examine food service reports to identify best practices
  • Focus on schools with intensive intervention
  • Further examine dietary recall data and changes in average daily fruit and vegetable intake
  • Continue more detailed analysis of teacher and parent surveys