TitleProject ReFresh: Testing the Efficacy of a School-Based Classroom and Cafeteria Intervention in Elementary School Children.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2016
AuthorsSong, H-J, Grutzmacher, SK, Munger, AL
JournalJ Sch Health
Date Published07/2016
KeywordsChild, Female, Food Services, Fruit, Health Education, Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice, Healthy Diet, Humans, Male, Schools, Vegetables

BACKGROUND: The purpose of this study was to assess the effect of a school-based nutrition program using a cafeteria environment intervention and classroom nutrition education on self-reported fruit and vegetable (FV) consumption, self-efficacy to select FV, and preference for healthy foods.

METHODS: Using quasi-experimental pre-post design with 3 study conditions, a total of 665 fourth- and fifth-grade students participated in the study. The comprehensive intervention included a behavioral economics cafeteria intervention and weekly classroom nutrition education for 1 academic year. The intervention was designed and delivered by the extension system.

RESULTS: The comprehensive group showed significant improvement in some indicators including eating vegetables for lunch (p = .007), number of days eating vegetables (p < .001) and fruits (p < .001) in the last week, and self-efficacy in preparing FV at home (p = .034) compared to the control and cafeteria groups. Food preference of some food items, including oatmeal (p = .036 for cafeteria group, p < .001 for comprehensive group), whole grain noodles (p = .011 for comprehensive group), and vegetables (p = .003 for comprehensive group), significantly improved in the cafeteria and/or comprehensive group.

CONCLUSIONS: Classroom nutrition education combined with cafeteria improvement has the potential to improve diet-related behavior of elementary school children. Also, collaborative partnership between schools and extension can enhance program sustainability.

Alternate JournalJ Sch Health
PubMed ID27246679