Topical Area: Community and Public Health Nutrition
To determine the effect of a policy, systems, and environmental (PSE) intervention, Students Take Charge! (STC) among 4th and 5th grade students from low-income communities on 1) fruit and vegetable (FV) intake, and 2) FV variety, PSE and FV knowledge, and self-efficacy (SE) to ask for FV at school and home.
Methods : A quasi-experimental design was used involving six schools over two years. Schools were purposely selected; two schools each year either received STC or standard instruction. The study sample includes students (n=326 intervention; n=351 comparison) providing pre and post data (baseline and post-assessment at week 18). SNAP-Ed educators provided the 8-lesson STC curriculum across 18 weeks; comparison students received standard instruction. STC is a school-based PSE intervention focusing on empowering students to make FV based changes at school and at home. STC taught students about wellness policies, persuasive messages, and making requests; it cumulated with a vote to add a student submitted FV-based recipe to the school lunch menu. In addition, STC provided information about the importance of FV intake and variety. Students completed the STC survey at both time points assessing FV intake, variety, knowledge and SE. Analyses compared intervention and comparison students from baseline to post-assessment using ANCOVA (1) and MANOVA (2).
Results : From baseline to post-assessment, there were significant differences (p< 0.01) between intervention and comparison students; intervention students decreased fruit intake and variety, increased PSE knowledge and SE in school.There were no differences in vegetable intake, variety or FV knowledge between intervention and comparison students. There was a trend (p=.09) towards increased student SE to ask parents for FV in the home in the intervention students compared to the comparison students.
Conclusions : STC was associated with an increase in PSE knowledge and student SE to ask for FV in school. STC may require additional strategies, including home-based strategies, to increase FV knowledge, intake, and variety behavior changes.
Funding Sources : USDA SNAP-Ed