Published: October 2015

ID #: 66957

Journal: Child Obes

Authors: Schwartz MB, O’Connell M, Henderson KE, Middleton AE, Scarmo S

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National data show that preschool-age children in the U.S. do not eat the recommended amount of whole fruit and vegetables (FV). Child-care settings are an important place to influence children’s diets, since over 80 percent of preschool-age children receive care outside the home, and many children eat most of their meals while in child care. This study aimed to test two strategies to increase FV consumption in one Head Start preschool in Connecticut: 1) serving fruit, vegetables, and milk before the main meal (first course), and 2) serving fruits, vegetables, and milk before the main meal and removing the meats and grains from the table after the first serving (combination). Data were collected on the dietary intake of eighty-five children during lunch in five classrooms, three days per week, over a three-week period. The investigators found that the interventions led to significant increases in milk consumption, which was the only under-consumed meal component. FV consumption was at CACFP-recommended levels at baseline and remained consistent across the study conditions. The researchers conclude that these strategies should be tested with children who have lower baseline intake of FVs.

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