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Title: Food recognition and willingness to try fruits and vegetables of rural children in grades 4-6

item McCabe Sellers, Beverly
item Lovera, Dalia
item Duke, Sara
item Thomson, Jessica
item Bogle, Margaret

Submitted to: Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/20/2008
Publication Date: 7/1/2008
Citation: McCabe Sellers, B.J., Strickland, E., Lovera, D., Duke, S.E., Thomson, J.L., Bogle, M.L. 2008. Food recognition and willingness to try fruits and vegetables of rural children in grades 4-6 [abstract]. Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior. 40(4):S28.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: The objective of this study was to assess and compare food recognition, food experience, self-reported willingness to taste, and actual consumption of fruit and vegetable snacks during the school day. One hundred eighty-six children in grades 4-6 in a rural Mississippi elementary school were asked to 1) name foods shown on flash card, 2) report prior tasting, 3) rate willingness to try, and 4) taste pre-weighed samples of 13 fruits and 5 vegetables. As a baseline measurement we used pre-test food recognition, food experience, and willingness to try new foods (Will-Try) surveys. A post-test survey measured food recognition and experience following 18 days of snack feedings (13 fruits and 5 vegetables) over 5 weeks, with actual consumption documented by post-weighing. Foods were offered in modest bite-size portions. Teachers served as role models by consuming snacks with their classes and offering food fact lessons. Survey pre- and post-test measurements by frequency comparisons and percentages of snacks consumed were analyzed using Mantel-Haenszel Chi-Square by individual foods, grades, and survey response categories. Inability to name foods dropped from 21.7% to only 12.4% (p< 0.001) post feeding. Recognition and willingness to try new foods increased with grade level. Actual consumption was greater than expected by survey responses. Exposure to knowledge about and experience with fruits and vegetables is important to promoting consumption. Most children will consume at least half a snack portion, even if initial responses are negative. Role modeling by teachers appears very important in fruit and vegetable interventions.