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item Nicklas, Theresa

Submitted to: Journal Of The American Dietetic Association
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 2/1/2002
Publication Date: 3/1/2002
Citation: O'Neil, C.E., Nicklas, T. 2002. Gimme 5: an innovative, school-based nutrition intervention for high school students. Journal Of The American Dietetic Association. 102:S93-6.

Interpretive Summary: A four-year, school-based study was designed toward getting high school students to eat more fruit and vegetables, increasing their intake of such servings to five a day. This program sought to increase student awareness of the importance of eating more fruit and vegetables, and to stimulate a positive attitude toward doing that; to offer more of these foods at school; and to determine the effects of eating more of these foods on the children's total nutrient intake. The program involved a school marketing campaign with different themes like "Grape Expectations" and "Berry Glad We Were Part of Your Year." Information on different menus involving these foods was given to school cafeteria food service personnel. Similar information was provided as part of this public relations campaign at parent-teacher meetings. Each semester, students were asked to rate the marketing materials and activities, and awareness and acceptability of the materials were high, particularly for items like food giveaways. Based on student reports, there was a 14 percent increase, or 0.35 serving, in the daily intake of fruits and vegetables from 1994 to 1996 of the participating group, compared to a control group. We feel that this shows the usefulness of such marketing programs in schools, to help students learn about and increase their intake of healthy foods. Fruits and vegetables are antioxidants which are known to have beneficial effects on health. The more children learn about how certain foods benefit their health, appearance and performance, the more they are likely to eat these foods and improve their health.

Technical Abstract: Gimme 5: A Fresh Nutrition Concept for Students (Gimme 5) was a 4-year, school-based intervention designed to increase daily fruit and vegetable consumption by high school students to 5 or more servings. Twelve schools were randomized to intervention or control conditions. The cohort (2,213 students; 56% females, 84% Caucasian) was followed from 9th to 12th grades. Interventions comprised a media campaign, classroom workshops, school meal modification, and parental support. Usual daily servings of fruit/vegetables increased 14% in the intervention compared to the control group (p > 0.001) the first three years. At follow-up, consumption within the control group also increased, resulting in no significant difference between groups. Intervention group knowledge scores and awareness indicators were significantly higher than those of the control group (p < 0.0001). Gimme 5 provided a first model to show that dietary habits of high school students can be influenced by positive media messages relative to that age group, increased exposure to a variety of tasty products, and minimal classroom activity.