Submitted to: Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior
Publication Type: Peer reviewed journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 2/15/2006
Publication Date: 11/1/2006
Citation: Jaramillo, S.J., Yang, S-J., Hughes, S.O., Fisher, J.O., Morales, M., Nicklas, T.A. 2006. Interactive computerized fruit and vegetable preference measure for African-American and Hispanic preschoolers. Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior. 38(6):352-359. Interpretive Summary: Children generally eat foods they like, and what children eat is one important factor contributing to the epidemic of pediatric obesity. Developing ways to assess preferences in young children is important because children's eating patterns are initiated early in life (i.e., 2 to 5 years old) and determining food preferences at a young age could inform potential interventions related to children's preferences and consumption patterns. The current research developed and validated a measure of fruit, juice, and vegetable (FJV) preference for use with large groups of preschool children from diverse ethnic backgrounds.
Technical Abstract: The objective of this study was to develop a computerized measure for assessing fruit, fruit juice and vegetable (FJV) preferences of African-American (AA) and Hispanic (H) preschool children. Preschool children were selected from Head Start Centers to participate in this study. Descriptive data on FJV preferences were obtained from a sample of 198 preschool children. Test-retest reliability (n=50) and predictive validity (n=47) were assessed in a sample of children. Analysis of variance (ANOVA) was used to evaluate gender and ethnic differences in FJV preference scores. Mean FJV preference scores were correlated using the Pearson's correlation coefficients and intra-class correlation to assess the reliability of the preference measure. ANOVA was applied to test the mean FV consumption difference between the low and high FV preference groups. Compared to H, AA had a significantly higher preference for vegetables. Boys had a significantly lower preference for fruit than girls. Data show adequate test-retest reliability (r = .70; p < .01) and internal consistency of FJV items (Cronbach alpha = .87). Mean FV consumption was significantly higher in children who reported higher preferences for FV compared to those who reported lower FV preferences (p < 0.05). Data provide evidence for the reliability and validity of an interactive, computerized measure for assessing FJV preferences of young children. Development of a valid and reliable method for assessing FJV preferences of preschool children may be useful in characterizing FJV preferences of young children and in evaluating specific intervention programs.