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The European School Fruit Scheme: impact on children’s fruit and vegetable consumption in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany

  • Sarah Methner (a1), Gesa Maschkowski (a1) and Monika Hartmann (a1)
Abstract
Objective

To assess the impact of the European School Fruit Scheme (SFS) in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany, on children’s fruit and vegetable (F&V) consumption, in particular frequency.

Design

The study consisted of a pre-test/post-test design with an intervention (eight primary schools) and a control group (two primary schools). Children’s F&V consumption frequency was measured prior to the introduction of the SFS in 2010 and after one year’s delivery of F&V (2011).

Setting

Ten primary schools in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany.

Subjects

In total, 499 primary-school children aged 6–11 years, 390 in the intervention and 109 in the control schools.

Results

Children highly appreciated the SFS. More than 90 % evaluated the programme positively. Children in the intervention group showed a significant increase in F&V intake frequency from baseline to follow-up, from on average 1·26 (sd 1·37) to 2·02 (sd 1·33) times/d (P=0·000). The intervention variable had a highly significant impact on children’s F&V consumption frequency, even after controlling for gender, age and stay at school for lunch (β=0·773; 95 % CI 0·59, 0·96). The SFS did not induce a reduction of F&V consumption at home. In the control group a non-significant decline in F&V consumption frequency from 1·31 (sd 1·26) to 1·18 (sd 1·34) times/d (P=0·325) was observed.

Conclusion

One year after the programme’s implementation, the SFS led to a significant short-term increase in children’s F&V consumption.

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Corresponding author
* Corresponding author: Email monika.hartmann@ilr.uni-bonn.de
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