Skip to main content
    • Aa
    • Aa

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)

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.


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).


Ten primary schools in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany.


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


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.


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

Corresponding author
*Corresponding author: Email
Linked references
Hide All

This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

2. B Caballero (2001) School health and community nutrition – early nutrition and risk of disease in the adult. Public Health Nutr 4, 13351336.

4. H Boeing , A Bechthold , A Bub et al. (2012) Critical review: vegetables and fruit in the prevention of chronic diseases. Eur J Nutr 51, 637663.

5. B Buijsse , EJM Feskens , MB Schulze et al. (2009) Fruit and vegetable intakes and subsequent changes in body weight in European populations: results from the project on Diet, Obesity, and Genes (DiOGenes). Am J Clin Nutr 90, 202209.

9. A Yngve , A Wolf , E Poortyliet et al. (2005) Fruit and vegetable intake in a sample of 11- year-old children in 9 European countries: the Pro Children Cross-Sectional Survey. Ann Nutr Metab 49, 236245.

13. T Baranowski , M Davis , K Resnicow et al. (2000) Gimme 5 fruit, juice and vegetables for fun and health: outcome evaluation. Health Educ Behav 27, 96.

14. E Bere , MB Veierød , M Bjelland et al. (2006) Outcome and process evaluation of a Norwegian school-randomized fruit and vegetable intervention: Fruits and Vegetables Make the Marks (FVMM). Health Educ Res 21, 258267.

15. K Glanz & DB Bishop (2010) The role of behavioral science theory in development and implementation of public health interventions. Annu Rev Public Health 31, 399418.

19. A Bandura (1998) Health promotion from the perspective of social cognitive theory. Psychol Health 13, 623649.

21. CEL Evans , MS Christian & CL Cleghorn (2012) Systematic review and meta-analysis of school-based interventions to improve daily fruit and vegetables intake in children 5 to 12 y. Am J Clin Nutr 96, 889901.

22. E Van Cauwenberghe , L Maes , H Spittaels et al. (2009) Effectiveness of school-based interventions in Europe to promote healthy nutrition in children and adolescents: systematic review of published and ‘grey’ literature. Br J Nutr 103, 781797.

23. J De Sa & K Lock (2008) Will European agricultural policy for school fruit and vegetables improve public health? A review of school fruit and vegetable programmes. Eur J Public Health 18, 558568.

24. C Knai , J Pomerleau , K Lock et al. (2006) Getting children to eat more fruit and vegetables: a systematic review. Prev Med 42, 8595.

26. C Pérez-Rodrigo & J Aranceta (2003) Nutrition education in schools: experiences and challenges. Eur J Clin Nutr 57, Suppl. 1, 8285.

27. C Pérez-Rodrigo , K-I Klepp , A Yngve et al. (2001) The school setting: an opportunity for the implementation of dietary guidelines. Public Health Nutr 4, 717724.

29. LD Edmunds & S Ziebland (2002) Development and validation of the Day in the Life Questionnaire (DILQ) as a measure of fruit and vegetable questionnaire for 7–9 year olds. Health Educ Res 17, 211220.

30. A Böhm , G Ellsäßer & K Lüdecke (2007) Der Brandenburger Sozialindex: ein Werkzeug für die Gesundheits- und Sozialberichterstattung auf Landes- und kommunaler Ebene bei der Analyse von Einschülerdaten. Gesundheitswesen 69, 555559.

36. SA French & G Stables (2003) Environmental interventions to promote vegetable and fruit consumption among youth in school settings. Prev Med 37, 593610.

38. E Bere , MB Veierød & K-I Klepp (2005) The Norwegian School Fruit Programme: evaluating paid vs. no-cost subscriptions. Prev Med 41, 463470.

39. AW Fogarty , M Antoniak , AJ Venn et al. (2007) Does participation in a population-based dietary intervention scheme have a lasting impact on fruit intake in young children? Int J Epidemiol 36, 10801085.

40. E Bere , SJ te Velde , MC Småstuen et al. (2015) One year of free school fruit in Norway – 7 years of follow-up. Int J Behav Nutr Phys Act 12, 139.

41. E Bere , J Brug & K-I Klepp (2008) Why do boys eat less fruit and vegetables than girls? Public Health Nutr 11, 321325.

42. M Rasmussen , R Krølner , K-I Klepp et al. (2006) Determinants of fruit and vegetable consumption among children and adolescents: a review of the literature, Part I: quantitative studies. Int J Behav Nutr Phys Act 3, 22.

43. LJ Cooke & J Wardle (2005) Age and gender differences in children’s food preferences. Br J Nutr 93, 741746.

44. AS Emanuel , SN McCully , KM Gallagher et al. (2012) Theory of Planned Behavior explains gender difference in fruit and vegetable consumption. Appetite 59, 693697.

45. MC McKinley , C Lowis , PJ Robson et al. (2005) It’s good to talk: children’s views on food and nutrition. Eur J Clin Nutr 59, 542551.

46. K Eriksen , J Haraldsdóttir , R Pederson et al. (2003) Effect of a fruit and vegetable subscription in Danish schools. Public Health Nutr 6, 5763.

Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Public Health Nutrition
  • ISSN: 1368-9800
  • EISSN: 1475-2727
  • URL: /core/journals/public-health-nutrition
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *



Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 9
Total number of PDF views: 89 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 511 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between 3rd October 2016 - 29th June 2017. This data will be updated every 24 hours.