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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Children are more willing to try fruits and vegetables than they report

Authors
item McCabe Sellers, Beverly
item Onufrak, Stephen
item Lovera, Dalia
item Bogle, Margaret

Submitted to: Annual Scientific Meeting NAASO, The Obesity Society
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: June 30, 2008
Publication Date: N/A

Technical Abstract: In 2005, the prevalence of overweight or at risk for overweight among 6th graders in Arkansas was 42%, with even higher prevalence observed among African American children. Although consumption of fruits and vegetables (F&V) may be beneficial in preventing weight gain among children, many parents report that children are unwilling to try these foods. The objective of the present study was to assess whether child-reported willingness to try F&V determined actual willingness as measured through feeding trials. Research was conducted in a summer day camp setting in Marvel, AR, attended by 84 African American children ages 5 through 12. Self-reported pickiness and willingness to try specific new F&V items was assessed by interview at baseline using the Willtry questionnaire. Children were divided into 3 groups based upon grade and offered a variety of F&V items as an afternoon snack over 6 weeks. Actual willingness to try a food item was defined as consumption of at least 20% of item weight. BMI percentile was greater than 85th for 47% of subjects; 40% of students reported themselves to be "Picky" eaters. Actual willingness to try specific F&V items was higher than self-reported willingness for 7 of 10 offered items. Self-reported picky eaters were significantly less likely to try new F&V; obese children were more likely to try fruit but not vegetable items. Actual willingness to try F&V differed by grade group but not by gender. Children are more likely to try individual F&V items than they report. However, those who identify themselves as picky eaters are less likely to try new F&V items than those who do not.

Last Modified: 10/23/2014
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