Free school fruit–sustained effect 1 year later.
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Health Educ Res. 2005 Oct 11; [Epub ahead of print] Related Articles, Links
Bere E, Veierod MB, Bjelland M, Klepp KI.
Department of Nutrition, Institute of Basic Medical Sciences, University of Oslo, Blindern, 0316 Oslo, Norway.
This study reports the effect of a school-randomized fruit and vegetable intervention consisting of a subscription to the Norwegian School Fruit Programme at no parental cost, and the Fruit and Vegetables Make the Marks (FVMM) educational programme, both delivered in the school year of 2001-02. Nine randomly chosen schools received the intervention and 10 schools served as control schools. Participating pupils completed questionnaires at baseline (September 2001), at Follow-up 1 (May-June 2002) and at Follow-up 2 (May 2003). A total of 517 pupils (84%; mean age, 11.3 years at baseline) participated in all three surveys. At both Follow-up 1 and Follow-up 2, strong intervention effects were observed for all-day fruit and vegetable intake (effect sizes were 0.6 and 0.5 portions, respectively). The sustained effect at Follow-up 2, 1 year after the end of the intervention, can partly be explained by greater participation rates in the School Fruit Programme (standard paid subscription). We conclude that the effects observed are most likely due to the no-cost subscription and not due to the FVMM educational programme, and that providing pupils with a piece of fruit or a vegetable at school at no cost for the parents is an effective strategy to increase school children’s intake of fruit and vegetables. The effect is also sustained 1 year after the end of the no-cost subscription, providing increased health benefits.