Children in the United States are not eating enough fruits and vegetables, but the school environment via the National School Lunch Program can be used as a conduit to increase consumption of these items. Our study focused on increasing portion sizes of fruit and vegetable side dishes because increasing portion size is one of the few methods that has been shown to increase consumption among children. This was accomplished using two similar menus, with a control and two experimental days for each type of menu. Children generally did not take a vegetable serving, 16% at best (for carrots). The proportion of students taking a fruit serving was highest at 54% for students taking oranges. For students taking fruits and vegetables, average consumption for all fruits and vegetables combined was increased by 17 grams during experimental days when comparing the combined control versus the combined experimental days. Children always ate significantly more fruit during the experimental days when compared to control days; this was not always true for vegetables. Our study implies that an increase in portion size can be used in a school setting to increase consumption of fruit. It can also be used to increase vegetable consumption, but vegetable consumption during our experimental days was not always significantly higher than the vegetable consumption on control days. Increasing portion size will likely only be worth the additional cost for nutrient vegetables or fruits as they contribute a more substantial amount of micronutrients.
University of Minnesota M.S. thesis. June 2013. Major: Nutrition. Advisors: Zata Vickers, Marla Reicks. 1 computer file (PDF); xi, 122 pages, appendix p. 120-122.
Miller, Nicole Eileen.
Increasing portion sizes of fruits and vegetables in an elementary school lunch program can increase fruit and vegetable consumption.
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