TitleHousehold Food Security and Fruit and Vegetable Intake Among Low-Income 4th Graders
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2009
AuthorsGross, SM, Grutzmacher, SK
JournalJournal of Nutrition Education and Behavior
PaginationS14 - S15
Date Published7/2009

Objective To describe the demographic characteristics, fruit and vegetable intake behaviors, and household food security among low-income school aged children from the Mid-Atlantic region. Design, Setting and Participants A school-based cross-sectional survey of 54 low-income fourth grade student and their parents from the Mid-Atlantic region. Outcome, Measures and Analysis Food Security Status and Average Daily Fruit and Vegetable Intake. Frequency distributions and means of all variables, Chi-squared and one-way ANOVA tests. Results Forty-six percent (n = 25) of parents reported low or very low food security. The average daily intake of fruits and vegetables (FV) was 1.66 (1.53). Only 7.4% (n = 4) of students consumed 5 or more FV per day and 16.7% (n = 10) consumed 3 or more FV per day. Almost 75% of students bought lunch in the school cafeteria, over 90% of students reported eating fruit for lunch and almost 75% of students had vegetables for lunch. Students whose parents reported low food security reported higher FV intake than those reporting very low food security and those with high or marginal food security [(mean±sd) 2.56 ± 1.98 vs 1.29 ± 0.80 & 1.11 ± 0.90, respectively; p< 0.01]. Conclusions and Implications This study highlights the need to examine other factors that may influence fruit and vegetable intake in low-income children. We see that, in these data, the relationship between food security and fruit and vegetable consumption is not necessarily linear like we may assume it is. This may reveal the importance of school lunch programs and other food programs. Funding for this study was provided by the USDA, the University of Maryland—College Park and Maryland FSNE.