Year of Publication
Master of Public Health (M.P.H.)
Mark Swanson, Ph.D.
Linda Alexander, Ed.D.
Alex Howard, DrPH
There is an increasing promotion of the importance of fruit and vegetable consumption through prevention efforts, specifically in school systems, to control and prevent childhood obesity. Farm to School (FTS) programs offer interactive hands on experiences involving fruits and vegetables. This study examines a specific FTS program including a farmer interaction, and a broccoli taste testing experience for kindergarten and fourth grade students in a rural Kentucky county. By using a digital still photography method of plate waste, the decisions of approximately 115 students to take/not take broccoli and percentage of students’ consumption of broccoli was analyzed. Using chi-square and ANOVA analysis the intervention was compared to a control, while also factoring grade level (K and 4th) and time. Time included: immediately following the intervention (T1) and 2 weeks post intervention (T2). The intervention group took 10% more broccoli than control groups, and 12% of children who received the intervention ate almost the entire broccoli serving (>75%). Kindergarten and fourth grade students did not significantly differ in decision to take, but fourth graders consumed more broccoli than kindergarteners. When comparing T1 and T2 percentages, consumption drops dramatically in T2, meaning the intervention effect did not sustain. FTS has an impact on children’s perceptions and actions regarding choosing and consuming vegetables, but are only part of the child's sphere of influences. Changes to children's total environments will be necessary to produce lasting change. By establishing FTS consistently in schools, Public Health can take one step further in decreasing childhood obesity.
Evers, Kathleen, "Farm to School Programs and Children's Dietary Behaviors" (2015). Theses and Dissertations--Public Health (M.P.H. & Dr.P.H.). 39.