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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Effectiveness of the 5-TODAY program at increasing fruit and vegetable consumption in grade five and six children House, Jennifer


Adequate fruit and vegetable (FV) intake may help prevent chronic disease, yet most Canadians do not consume the recommended minimum five servings per day. The 5-TODAY project targeted children to promote FV intake. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of the 5-TODAY program in grade five and six students. Specific objectives were to measure changes in FV intake and knowledge, attitudes and perceptions regarding FVs„ and to identify ways in which the 5-TODAY program could be improved. Evaluation the 5-TODAY program, involved 10 Vancouver area schools, divided into three intervention levels: liaison, champion and usual practice. Grade five and six class teachers in intervention schools taught students about FVs, using provided 5-TODAY lesson plans. Quantitative assessment of the 5-TODAY program included 24-hour food recalls, FV food frequency questionnaires (FFQ), and a FV Knowledge, Attitudes & Perceptions (KAP) survey. The students completed these three forms before, during, and after 5-TODAY implementation. Qualitative evaluation involved the use of focus groups with the teachers who implemented the program. Repeated measures ANOVA results of the 24-hour food recall and FFQ showed that total FV intake did not increase significantly during the duration of the 5-TODAY program. The KAP survey revealed that the students' attitudes towards FVs did not change as a result of the 5- TODAY program. Teachers thought the 5-TODAY program increased awareness of the importance of FV in students, teachers and schools. Some teachers felt that their students did not change their eating behaviour during 5-TODAY implementation, while other teachers did observe changes, although some only temporary. Suggestions to improve the program included increased time and intensity, as well as targeting a younger age group. Results show that the average FV intake of the sample (3.49 servings/day) did not meet the recommended minimum amount of five FVs per day at any measurement period. Also, 75% of students consumed less than five FV daily. This provides evidence that further FV promotion interventions are required in Canadian elementary schools. To achieve success, it is recommended that these programs include multiple dimensions, such as classroom, environmental, community and parental components.

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