Encouraging children’s fruit and vegetable intake at primary school; the role of parents

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstract


Children’s consumption of fruit and vegetables is insufficient. The social setting and large reach make the school an ideal setting to encourage fruit & vegetable intake among children. However, little is known about the role and views of parents when they are responsible for the provision of foods at school. This study investigated the role of parents regarding the fruit and vegetable (=F&V) provision for their child’s morning break at school. A digital survey was distributed to parents via 90 schools in the Netherlands. The main topics in the questionnaire were: motives for the type of morning snack, parent-perceived barriers and benefits of eating F&V at school, and parental attitudes and behaviour regarding F&V provision for their child’s morning break. A Principle Component Analysis was done to find underlying dimensions. Chi-square, ANOVA’s and Spearman correlations were used to analyse the data. The survey was completed by 1141 parents, mainly mothers (89%) of Dutch origin (93%). The children were on average 7.4±2.3 years (range: 4-12y). Health, feelings of control and child preferences were the most important underlying motives of parents for the type of morning snack. The older the child, the less frequent parents provided F&V for the morning snack and the less often they agreed with the statement that their child should eat 5x per week F&V during the morning break at school. Barriers for providing F&V for the morning snack were scored low in this sample. Nevertheless, parents who provided F&V most frequently (4-5x per week) experienced less barriers than parents who provided F&V on 3 days or less. Having a healthy food policy at school was positively associated with parental F&V provision, but not related to their attitude. School-based interventions should also focus on the older children of primary school to support a healthy F&V intake.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2 Sep 2018
EventEurosense 2018: 8th European conference on sensory and consumer research - Verona, Italy
Duration: 2 Sep 20185 Sep 2018


ConferenceEurosense 2018: 8th European conference on sensory and consumer research
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