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Does the distribution frequency matter? A subgroup specific analysis of the effectiveness of the EU School Fruit and Vegetable Scheme in Germany comparing twice and thrice weekly deliveries

  • Julia Haß (a1), Tanja Lischetzke (a2) and Monika Hartmann (a1)
Abstract
Objective

The present study aimed to examine the effectiveness of two different implementation forms of the EU School Fruit and Vegetable Scheme (SFVS).

Design

A quasi-experimental design was applied including a thrice as well as a twice weekly intervention group. Repeated 24 h dietary recalls were used to measure children’s fruit and vegetable (F&V) intake. Effects were analysed on days with and without F&V deliveries using hierarchical linear regression models.

Setting

Twelve primary schools in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany.

Subjects

Third and fourth graders (n 664).

Results

Average daily F&V intake at pre-intervention was 0·84 frequencies in the thrice weekly intervention group, 0·90 frequencies in the twice weekly intervention group and 1·25 frequencies in the control group. Providing children thrice weekly with F&V increased children’s F&V intake on average by 0·96 (P<0·001) frequencies/d. The effects were higher on days with (1·07; P<0·001) than on days without (0·75; P<0·001) F&V deliveries. Distributing F&V twice weekly resulted in an increase of 0·75 (P<0·001) frequencies/d on average, again with higher effects on days with (1·30; P<0·001) than without (0·48; P<0·003) F&V deliveries. Subgroup analysis revealed some indications for differential effectiveness only in the twice weekly intervention group.

Conclusions

The SFVS with thrice or twice weekly deliveries of F&V led to a significant increase in children’s F&V intake on days with and without deliveries. The latter might provide an indication of positive long-term effects of the scheme. The scheme shows equal efficiency for almost all subgroups.

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Corresponding author
* Corresponding author: Email julia.hass@ilr.uni-bonn.de
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