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The study’s purpose was to evaluate an intervention to reduce fruit and vegetable food neophobia and influence attitudes and behaviors among children using a four-month, non-experimental, before-and-after intervention. Participants were children aged 5–11 years in an intervention school (IS) and a control school (CS). Children were offered fruit or vegetable samples weekly utilizing school-specific psychosocial and educational practices to encourage participation. The outcomes of interest included attitudes measured using a written survey-based food neophobia scale (FNS), behavioral observations, and an oral survey. The post-intervention IS FNS score was significantly lower compared to pre-intervention (p = 0.04). Repeated-measures ANOVA revealed a statistically significant overall effect of time (p = 0.006). School type-time interaction was not significant (p = 0.57). Pre-intervention observational data showed the proportions finishing and taking another fruit and vegetable sample were higher in the CS (p < 0.001 for both). Post-intervention, the proportions taking the vegetable (p = 0.007) and the fruit (p < 0.001) were higher in the IS. The percentage tasting the vegetable was higher in the CS (p = 0.009). Offering samples of produce in school lunchrooms may reduce food neophobia. This intervention is an inexpensive program that volunteers can quickly implement.


Published in Nutrients vol.13 no.10 Oct. 2021

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.



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