Date of Award

Spring 5-2015

Degree Type

Honors College Thesis


Nutrition and Food Systems

First Advisor

Carol Connell

Advisor Department

Nutrition and Food Systems


In the U.S., the weight status of overweight and obesity in children is increasing from recent decades (Carrol & Ogden, 2010). Research shows that the prevalence of children developing chronic diseases is influenced by obesity and overweight statuses, shown by existing risk factors (Freedman, Dietz, Srinivasan, & Berenson, 1999). Recent legislation of the National School Lunch Program has aimed to improve the nutritional value of school lunches in elementary schools by requiring fruit and vegetable meal components be provided on each lunch tray (Nutrition Standards, 2012). This quasi experimental study aimed to increase fourth graders nutrition knowledge and fruit and vegetable intake during school lunch by applying concepts of the Health Belief Model (HBM) to a nutrition education session. A convenience sample of 25 fourth graders was selected and administered a pre and post questionnaire along with a plate waste survey to measure fruit and vegetable consumption before and after a nutrition education lesson was given. A paired samples t-test indicated that student’s nutrition knowledge significantly increased (t(21)=2.60, p=.015) after the nutrition education lesson was implemented. However, more research is needed to determine the frequency and length of nutrition education programs needed to increase fruit and vegetable consumption in children. Frequency distribution of HBM concepts recorded on the questionnaires also suggests that students appeared to notice fewer barriers to eating fruits and vegetables. This study showed that concepts of the HBM may be effective and appropriate for use in developing positive nutrition education lessons for children.


Honors College Award: Excellence in Research