We examined whether there are sex differences in children's fruit and vegetable (FV) intake and in descriptive norms (i.e. perceived FV intake) related to parents and friends. We also studied whether friends' impact is as important as that of parents on children's FV intake. Data from the PRO GREENS project in Finland were obtained from 424 children at the age 11 years at baseline. At baseline, 2009 children filled in a questionnaire about descriptive norms conceptualised as perceived FV intake of their parents and friends. They also filled in a validated FFQ that assessed their FV intake both at baseline and in the follow-up in 2010. The associations were examined with multi-level regression analyses with multi-group comparisons. Girls reported higher perceived FV intake of friends and higher own fruit intake at baseline, compared with boys, and higher vegetable intake both at baseline and in the follow-up. Perceived FV intake of parents and friends was positively associated with both girls' and boys' FV intake in both study years. The impact of perceived fruit intake of the mother was stronger among boys. The change in children's FV intake was affected only by perceived FV intake of father and friends. No large sex differences in descriptive norms were found, but the impact of friends on children's FV intake can generally be considered as important as that of parents. Future interventions could benefit from taking into account friends' impact as role models on children's FV intake.
It is important that health-promoting efforts result in sustained behavioural changes, preferably throughout life. However, only a very few intervention studies evaluate long term follow up.
The aim of the present study is to evaluate the overall and up to seven years effect of providing daily one piece of fruit or vegetable (FV) for free for one school year.
A total of 38 randomly drawn elementary schools from two counties in Norway participated in the Fruit and Vegetables Make the Marks project. Baseline (2001) and follow-up surveys were conducted in May 2002, 2005 and 2009 (n?=?320 with complete data) to assess FV and unhealthy snack intake. Mixed models were used to analyze the data.
Statistically significant adjusted overall effects of the intervention were revealed for FV intake (1.52 times/day) but this weakened over time. A significant adjusted overall effect (-1.54 consumptions/week) and a significant seven-year-follow-up effect (-2.02 consumptions/week) was found for consumption of unhealthy snacks for pupils of parents without higher education.
One year of free school fruit resulted in higher FV intake and lower unhealthy snack intake, however this weakened over time for FV intake and became stronger for snack intake. More follow-up studies with larger samples and lower attrition rates are needed in order to further evaluate the long-term effect.
Cites: Health Educ Res. 2006 Apr;21(2):258-6716219631