Department of Management

Are parents eating their greens? Fruit and vegetable consumption during a school intervention

Research output: Contribution to journal/Conference contribution in journal/Contribution to newspaperJournal articleResearchpeer-review

Purpose - We study the extent of change in parents’ fruit and vegetable consumption during a period when their children participate in a school-based healthy eating intervention.
Design/methodology/approach - 256 12-year old Danish schoolchildren took part in a text-message feedback intervention promoting fruit and vegetable consumption. One parent of each child filled out self-administered questionnaires at three points during the 40-week long study period. In the questionnaire, stated consumption, perceived influence factors on their consumption and self-efficacy and self-regulation were measured.
Findings - Only half of the parents stated that they met the ‘five a day’ target. These parents reported good availability of fruit and vegetables in their household, high consumption among their friends and frequent exercise and they were characterised by high self-efficacy levels. Stated consumption increased during the period of the intervention targeted at their children. Parents that reported an increase had, at the start of the intervention, reported low levels of consumption, lack of encouragement to eat healthy at their workplace and lower autonomous self-regulation.
Research limitations/implications - The consumption data is limited to self-report.
Practical implications - The results indicate that parents can be influenced indirectly by school-based interventions targeted at their children. Future interventions should include the family with the intent to support positive interaction that might further promote and sustain healthy eating habits.
Originality/value - The study considers the possible effects school interventions targeting children may have on the immediate family, an aspect generally overlooked in school-based health initiatives.
Original languageEnglish
JournalBritish Food Journal
Pages (from-to)585-597
Publication statusPublished - 2014

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