Methods for assessing willingness to try and vegetable consumption among children in indigenous early childcare settings: The fresh study

Marianna S. Wetherill, University of Oklahoma Tulsa
Mary B. Williams, University of Oklahoma Tulsa
Jessica Reese, University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center
Tori Taniguchi, Oklahoma State University - Center for Health Sciences
Susan B. Sisson, University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center
Adrien D. Malek-Lasater, University of North Florida
Charlotte V. Love, Oklahoma State University - Center for Health Sciences
Valarie Blue Bird Jernigan, Oklahoma State University - Center for Health Sciences


Food preferences begin in early childhood, and a child’s willingness to try (WTT) new vegetables is an important determinant of vegetable intake. Young children living in rural communities are at increased risk for food insecurity, which may limit exposure to and consumption opportunities for vegetables. This manuscript describes the validation of the Farfan-Ramirez WTT (FR-WTT) measure using baseline data from the FRESH study, a gardening intervention for Native American families with preschool-aged children in Osage Nation, Oklahoma. Individually weighed vegetable containers were prepared with six types of vegetables and ranch dip. Researchers presented children (n = 164; M = 4.3 years, SD = 0.8) with these vegetables preceding a snack-or lunch time and recorded the child’s FR-WTT for each vegetable using a 5-point scale, ranging from “did not remove food (0)” to “put food in mouth and swallowed (4)”. After the presentation period, contents were re-weighed to calculate vegetable consumption. Household parents/guardians completed the Child Food Neophobia Scale (CFNS) for their child. FR-WTT scores were positively correlated with consumption weights of all vegetables (r = 0.7613, p < 0.0001) and each vegetable individually (r = 0.2016–0.7664). The total FR-WTT score was inversely correlated with the CFNS score (r = 0.3268, p < 0.0001). Sensitivity analyses demonstrated similar relationships by BMI, food security, and age. In conclusion, the FR-WTT is a valid method for assessing young children’s vegetable eating behavior and intake.