LET’S TALK FOOD: ELEMENTARY SCHOOL STUDENTS’ PERCEPTIONS OF SCHOOL AND HOME FOOD ENVIRONMENT AND THE IMPACT OF THE HARVEST OF THE MONTH PROGRAM ON THEIR DIETARY ATTITUDES AND BEHAVIORS

  • Amanda Margolin Providence Pediatric Neurodevelopment Institute
  • Keiko Goto California State University-Chico
  • Cindy Wolff California State University-Chico
  • Stephanie Bianco California State University-Chico
Keywords: focus groups, primary schools, nutrition interventions

Abstract

This study aimed to further knowledge about elementary school students’ views on food environment, and the effects of the Harvest of the Month (HOTM) program on their dietary attitudes and behaviors. Three focus groups were conducted with a total of 24 fourth, fifth, and sixth grade students from low-income schools in northern California who received the National School Lunch Program and HOTM during the school year. Focus groups were tape-recorded, transcribed, and coded for specific themes. Following the intervention, participants expressed a desire for more healthy food options in the school cafeteria and wanted to receive more school and family support for healthy eating. The HOTM program created a positive environment that appeared to influence their dietary attitudes and behaviors, peer and family perceptions of healthy eating, and participants’ attitudes toward their schools. Specifically, cooking demonstrations, tasting activities, and take-home recipes provided them with a means to share with their parents what they had learned about fruits and vegetables. School food policy interventions may become more effective if they are combined with interventions based on nutrition education. Future research should focus on exploring effective and synergistic ways of implementing both types of interventions among children.

Author Biographies

Amanda Margolin, Providence Pediatric Neurodevelopment Institute
Pediatric Dietitian
Keiko Goto, California State University-Chico

Assistant Director of Research and Evaluation, Center for Healthy Communities

Professor and Graduate Coordinator, Department of Nutrition and Food Sciences

Cindy Wolff, California State University-Chico

Executive Director, Center for Healthy Communities

Professor, Department of Nutrition and Food Sciences

Stephanie Bianco, California State University-Chico
Associate Director, Center for Healthy Communities

Associate Professor, Department of Nutrition and Food Sciences
Published
2018-03-08
Section
Articles