Date of Award

Spring 5-2014

Degree Type

Masters Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Nutrition and Food Systems

Committee Chair

Alicia Landry

Committee Chair Department

Nutrition and Food Systems

Committee Member 2

Carol Connell

Committee Member 2 Department

Nutrition and Food Systems

Committee Member 3

Kathleen Yadrick

Committee Member 3 Department

Nutrition and Food Systems


Fruit and vegetable (FV) intakes in MS children remain lower than recommended. Theory-based, multi-component nutrition education interventions like Farm to School (F2S) target FV consumption and utilize such interventions to improve children’s dietary behaviors by incorporating nutrition and agriculture education. The current study was designed with Theory of Planned Behavior (TPB) as its framework. An intervention was implemented to enhance beliefs, norms, and self-efficacy regarding FV, thus potentially increasing the intention to consume more FV. The research objectives of this study are to describe changes over the course of the intervention in (1) nutrition knowledge; (2) norms, beliefs, and self-efficacy towards eating FV; (3) FV preferences; (4) assess relationships between (a) FV knowledge scores and preferences, (b) reported access to FV at home and reported intakes of FV, (c) FV-related information obtained from teachers and participants’ beliefs or expectancies about consuming FV; and (5) determine the ability of norms, beliefs, and self-efficacy about eating FV in predicting intentions, and the ability of intentions to predict FV intake. Fifth grade students (N=124) were selected as the target of the intervention. Outcome data were collected regarding demographics, knowledge, preferences, norms, self-efficacy, intakes, beliefs, access, and intentions related to FV, via 84-item pre- and post-intervention surveys, which were administered before and one month following the intervention. Descriptive statistics, correlations, regressions, and Wilcoxon signed ranks tests were conducted using SPSS v.21. Nearly all (n=120, 96.5%) 5th grade students participated in both surveys. Significant improvements were noted for students’ FV beliefs (Z=-2.18; p=0.029). After a regression analysis of post-intervention TPB constructs, the overall model was found to be significant at F(3, 88) = 7.2, p<0.001, although it appeared that only self-efficacy significantly predicted intentions, t(91) = 2.25, p=0.027. In contrast to what would be expected when using the TPB, intentions did not significantly predict FV intakes. Future F2S interventions should utilize dietary intake instruments validated for use in children, longer interventions, or longer follow-up periods to allow for assessment of greater impacts.