Year of Publication

2019

College

Public Health

Degree Name

Master of Public Health (M.P.H.)

Committee Chair

Dr. Mark Swanson

Committee Member

Dr. Corrine Williams

Committee Member

Dr. Marc Kiviniemi

Abstract

Poor diet quality is a leading risk factor for many chronic diseases affecting Americans today. Increasing consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables during childhood helps to protect against chronic diseases in adulthood and overall prolonged healthier habits. Since 1988, trends in fruit consumption remain unchanged in the United States and vegetable consumption has slightly decreased. Communities living under the poverty level have a greater disparity for access to and consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables. This proposal is given by the Lexington Fayette County Health Department (LFCHD) and combines aspects of three evidence-based programs: the 5-a-day Power Plus Project, the Cafeteria

Power Plus Project and the CATCH’S Go, Slow and Whoa campaign to increase fresh produce consumption in elementary schools. The proposed program will benefit almost 1,800 fourth and fifth grade students at ten Community Eligible Provision (CEP) elementary schools in Fayette County, Kentucky where school breakfast and lunch are provided to all students free of charge. Teachers, cafeteria workers, other school staff and peer leaders in conjunction with the LFCHD dieticians from the Community Health Education and Equity department will disseminate the program throughout each school year through integrated classroom lessons, environmental changes to the food service line, encouragement from food service workers and more. Monthly taste tests of fresh fruits and vegetables will occur as well as friendly competitions to incorporate more fresh produce into breakfast and lunch meals at school. Process evaluation will assess the monthly food challenges, maintenance of program materials, number of integrated lessons given, fruit and vegetable purchased by the schools and fidelity among teachers and food service staff. A pre and post-test with delayed implementation in control schools will measure various outcomes of the proposed program. Data will be collected through photo analysis of food consumption and self-reported surveys. Short-term outcomes are increased knowledge of the benefits of eating fresh produce; increased fruit and vegetable consumption at school-provided meals and increased student willingness to try new fruits and vegetables. Long-term outcomes for the program include reduced childhood obesity in Fayette County and decreased rates of obesity-related diseases in Fayette County adults.

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