Educational or Curriculum – Environmental Change

The 5-a-Day Power Plus intervention.

Initiative Description:

Two curricula were written for the fourth- and fifth-grade students: “High 5 and “5 for 5.” Each of these curricula included sixteen 40- to 45-minute classroom sessions implemented twice a week for 8 weeks. The curricula introduced new role models in the form of comic books in High 5 and an adventure story in 5 for 5. Students formed teams during both curricula; team competition to eat fruits and vegetables during lunch was a central component of each program. Students were rewarded small prizes on an individual student and team basis at the end of each program. The food service intervention encouraged selection and consumption of fruits and vegetables at school lunch via 4 strategies: (1) point-of-purchase promotion of fruits and vegetables using characters and messages from the classroom curricula, (2) enhancing the attractiveness of fruits and vegetables that were served every day to students at school lunch,(3) increasing the variety and choice of fruits and vegetables available to students, and (4) providing an additional fruit item on days when a baked dessert was served. The intervention consisted of behavioral curricula in classrooms, parental involvement. The industry component of the intervention included support from the 72-member Minnesota 5-a-Day Coalition. Beckman Produce Inc, a St. Paul-based supplier of produce, provided fruits and vegetables for the classroom taste testing, home snack packs, and school lunch.

Study results: The program increased lunchtime fruit consumption and combined fruit and vegetable consumption among all children, lunchtime vegetable consumption among girls, and daily fruit consumption as well as the proportion of total daily calories attributable to fruits and vegetables.

Reference: Perry, C. L., Bishop, D. B., Taylor, G., Murray, D. M., Mays, R. W., Dudovitz, B. S., … & Story, M. (1998). Changing fruit and vegetable consumption among children: the 5-a- Day Power Plus program in St. Paul, Minnesota. American Journal of Public Health, 88(4), 603-609

Level of Evidence: 3 out of 5 stars Very Good