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C-34 Free Communication/Poster - Sports Nutrition, Dietary and Fluid Intake Thursday, May 29, 2014, 7:30 AM - 12:30 PM Room: WB1

Fruit and Vegetable Consumption Among Preschool Children. An Income Paradox?: 1481 Board #221 May 29, 800 AM - 930 AM

Hansen, Andrew; Alfonso, Moya L.; Hackney, Amy A.

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Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise: May 2014 - Volume 46 - Issue 5S - p 398
doi: 10.1249/01.mss.0000494368.47532.b2
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Diets focusing on high fruit and vegetable consumption (FVC) reduce the risk of obesity, diabetes, cancer and cardiovascular disease. Low income families have lower FVC, yet a handful of international studies demonstrate rural living as a protective factor over income.

PURPOSE: Assess predictors of FVC consumption among preschool children in a rural and low income county of the United States.

METHODS: Parents (N=178) were surveyed about the home food environment. School lunchtime FVC of preschool children (n=196) was assessed using digital imagery of individual plate waste. USDA portion equivalents were calculated. Income comparisons were made using the independent samples t-test with α ≤ .05 and multivariate regression was used to determine predictors of child FVC at school. An income threshold was set at $20,000 as this was the sample median and the mid-point poverty line for a family of 3 and 4.

RESULTS: An average of 52.02% of fruits and vegetables (not including potatoes) were consumed equating to ¼ of a USDA child serving. Children of < $20,000 households consumed significantly more fruits vegetables at school t(162) = 3.23, p <.05, r =.25 than children of >$20,000 household. Predictors of FVC at school for children in <$20,000 households included child preference F(1, 88) = 9.98, p <.05, R2= .10 and availability of fruits and vegetables at home F(1, 86) = 5.01, p < .05, R2 = .05. Only child preference was a predictor for children in >$20,000 households F(1, 46)= 7.22, p < .05, R2 = .14.

CONCLUSIONS: This study demonstrates that in a rural setting, the common conception that lower income children consume less fruits and vegetables can be challenged. In addition, home availability of fruits and vegetables typically predicts FVC, but in this study did so only for children in <$20,000 households. All children in this study did not consume the USDA recommended amounts, with >$20,000 household children at greatest risk. Obesity interventions must assess the entire food environment (i.e., home and school) with rural-urban and income comparisons and consideration for other factors (e.g., preference, culture) to fully understand the context of FVC.

© 2014 American College of Sports Medicine