Keyte, J., Harris, S., Margetts, B.M., Robinson, S.M. and Baird, Janis
Engagement with the National Healthy Schools Programme is associated with higher fruit and vegetable consumption in primary school children
Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics, 25, (2), . (doi:10.1111/j.1365-277X.2011.01208.x). (PMID:22128770).
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Background:? Improving children’s diets is currently a government focus. However, fruit and vegetable consumption, a key target, is still far below the government guidelines of five portions per day. The present study aimed to assess the impact of engagement with the National Healthy Schools Programme (NHSP) on fruit and vegetable consumption in a sample of primary school children.
Methods:? A sample of 511 children, aged 7–9 years, who were attending 10 randomly selected schools in Hampshire, completed the Day in the Life Questionnaire, a validated 24-h recall method of dietary assessment. Fruit and vegetable intake in pupils attending schools engaged with the NHSP was compared with that of pupils attending schools not engaged with the programme.
Results:? Children attending schools engaged with the NHSP ate a median of two (interquartile range, 0–8.0) portions of fruit and vegetables, compared to one portion (interquartile range, 0–8.0) consumed by pupils attending a school not engaged with the programme (P = 0.001). Gender was also a significant predictor of fruit and vegetable consumption, with girls being 1.68 times more likely to consume 2.5 or more portions of fruit and vegetables. After adjustment for free school meal eligibility (as a measure of socio-economic status) and gender, pupils attending schools engaged with NHSP were twice as likely to eat 2.5 portions of fruit and vegetables or more per day.
Conclusions:? Engagement with the NHSP may be an effective way of increasing fruit and vegetable consumption in primary school children. Further evaluation of the programme is recommended to determine which aspects of the NHSP are successful in achieving this.
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