Event Title

Successes, Challenges and Recommendations Regarding Using Incentives to Increase School Level (Aggregate) Fruit and Vegetable Consumption in Elementary Schools

Mentor 1

Eric Jamelske

Mentor 2

Sydney Chinchanachokchai

Location

Union Wisconsin Room

Start Date

24-4-2015 10:30 AM

End Date

24-4-2015 11:45 AM

Description

Fruit and vegetable consumption has been shown to improve health and reduce the risk of a variety of costly chronic diseases. However, children’s fruit and vegetable intake in the United States is well below USDA recommended guidelines. As a result, increasing children’s fruit and vegetable consumption has become an important focus among practitioners, policymakers and researchers. Given that children spend significant time in school and are exposed to a variety of foods during this time, there have been many school-based policies and interventions designed to increase children’s fruit and vegetable consumption. Recent research has begun to examine the influence of incentives to motivate children to eat more fruits and vegetables. For this project we partnered with two Western Wisconsin elementary schools (N=420 and N=440) to examine the influence of a variety of incentives on aggregate school-level fruit and vegetable consumption by children during school lunch over three distinct periods of study. We observed, measured and recorded baseline consumption over an initial period (3 days) followed by an incentive period (6 days) and ended with a return to baseline period (3 days). Students in both schools were offered three different types of incentives to motivate them to eat more fruits and vegetables. We found incentives did work to increase children’s aggregate fruit and vegetable intake for lunch. However, there were several challenges in coordinating the lunch menu over the study periods as well as working with teachers. In particular, we could not control the quality of fruits and vegetables served to students which impacted our results. Additionally, a short voluntary survey was conducted to assess the level of engagement and participation of the teachers. Only 14 out of 40 teachers (35%) across both schools returned the completed questionnaires. Additionally, the results from the survey suggested that teachers in both schools had a rather low level of engagement in encouraging their students to consume more fruits and vegetables as displayed by the number of days they reported reading the announcement and the level of enthusiasm reported. Our results contribute to the discussion and development of best practices that can be used by schools in collaboration with researchers and community partners to increase children’s fruit and vegetable intake. Our ultimate goal is to improve both the eating habits and the health and wellness of children both locally and nationally by informing the public discourse on this important issue. This presentation leads into a second presentation from the same data outlining successes, challenges and recommendations for future research from this research experience. This presentation builds on our first presentation exploring the impact of incentives on children’s lunchtime fruit and vegetable intake using the same data.

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Apr 24th, 10:30 AM Apr 24th, 11:45 AM

Successes, Challenges and Recommendations Regarding Using Incentives to Increase School Level (Aggregate) Fruit and Vegetable Consumption in Elementary Schools

Union Wisconsin Room

Fruit and vegetable consumption has been shown to improve health and reduce the risk of a variety of costly chronic diseases. However, children’s fruit and vegetable intake in the United States is well below USDA recommended guidelines. As a result, increasing children’s fruit and vegetable consumption has become an important focus among practitioners, policymakers and researchers. Given that children spend significant time in school and are exposed to a variety of foods during this time, there have been many school-based policies and interventions designed to increase children’s fruit and vegetable consumption. Recent research has begun to examine the influence of incentives to motivate children to eat more fruits and vegetables. For this project we partnered with two Western Wisconsin elementary schools (N=420 and N=440) to examine the influence of a variety of incentives on aggregate school-level fruit and vegetable consumption by children during school lunch over three distinct periods of study. We observed, measured and recorded baseline consumption over an initial period (3 days) followed by an incentive period (6 days) and ended with a return to baseline period (3 days). Students in both schools were offered three different types of incentives to motivate them to eat more fruits and vegetables. We found incentives did work to increase children’s aggregate fruit and vegetable intake for lunch. However, there were several challenges in coordinating the lunch menu over the study periods as well as working with teachers. In particular, we could not control the quality of fruits and vegetables served to students which impacted our results. Additionally, a short voluntary survey was conducted to assess the level of engagement and participation of the teachers. Only 14 out of 40 teachers (35%) across both schools returned the completed questionnaires. Additionally, the results from the survey suggested that teachers in both schools had a rather low level of engagement in encouraging their students to consume more fruits and vegetables as displayed by the number of days they reported reading the announcement and the level of enthusiasm reported. Our results contribute to the discussion and development of best practices that can be used by schools in collaboration with researchers and community partners to increase children’s fruit and vegetable intake. Our ultimate goal is to improve both the eating habits and the health and wellness of children both locally and nationally by informing the public discourse on this important issue. This presentation leads into a second presentation from the same data outlining successes, challenges and recommendations for future research from this research experience. This presentation builds on our first presentation exploring the impact of incentives on children’s lunchtime fruit and vegetable intake using the same data.