The aim of the present study was to pilot-test a school-based intervention designed to increase consumption of whole grains by 4th and 5th grade children.
This multi-component school-based pilot intervention utilised a quasi-experimental study design (intervention and comparison schools) that consisted of a five-lesson classroom curriculum based on Social Cognitive Theory, school cafeteria menu modifications to increase the availability of whole-grain foods and family-oriented activities. Meal observations of children estimated intake of whole grains at lunch. Children and parents completed questionnaires to assess changes in knowledge, availability, self-efficacy, usual food choice and role modelling.
Parent/child pairs from two schools in the Minneapolis metropolitan area; 67 in the intervention and 83 in the comparison school.
Whole-grain consumption at the lunch meal increased by 1 serving (P < 0·0001) and refined-grain consumption decreased by 1 serving for children in the intervention school compared with the comparison school post-intervention (P < 0·001). Whole-grain foods were more available in the lunches served to children in the intervention school compared with the comparison school post-intervention (P < 0·0001). The ability to identify whole-grain foods by children in both schools increased, with a trend towards a greater increase in the intervention school (P = 0·06). Parenting scores for scales for role modelling (P < 0·001) and enabling behaviours (P < 0·05) were significantly greater for parents in the intervention school compared with the comparison school post-intervention.
The multi-component school-based programme implemented in the current study successfully increased the intake of whole-grain foods by children.
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