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Personal, Social and Environmental Factors regarding Fruit and Vegetable Intake among Schoolchildren in Nine European Countries

Sandvik C.a, b · de Bourdeaudhuij I.c · Due P.d · Brug J.e · Wind M.e · Bere E.a · Pérez-Rodrigo C.f · Wolf A.g · Elmadfa I.g · Thórsdóttir I.h, i · Vaz de Almeida M.D.j · Yngve A.k · Klepp K.-I.a
aDepartment of Nutrition, Faculty of Medicine, University of Oslo, Oslo and bResearch Centre for Health Promotion, Department of Education and Health Promotion, Faculty of Psychology, University of Bergen, Bergen, Norway; cDepartment of Movement and Sport Sciences, Ghent University, Ghent, Belgium; dDepartment of Social Medicine, Institute of Public Health, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark; eDepartment of Public Health, Erasmus University Medical Centre, Rotterdam, The Netherlands; fCommunity Nutrition Unit of Bilbao, Bilbao, Spain; gInstitute for Nutritional Sciences, University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria; hUnit for Nutrition Research, Landspitali University Hospital and iDepartment of Food Science, University of Iceland, Reykjavik, Iceland; jFaculty of Nutrition and Food Sciences, University of Porto, Porto, Portugal; kUnit for Preventive Nutrition, Department of Biosciences, Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden Ann Nutr Metab 2005;49:255–266 (DOI:10.1159/000087332)

Abstract

Background/Aims: Children in Europe are consuming less fruit and vegetables than recommended. Knowledge about the potential determinants of fruit and vegetable intake is vital to understand discrepancies in intake and to guide interventions. The aim of the present study was to assess personal, social and environmental factors regarding fruit and vegetable intake among 11- to 12-year-old children in Europe. Methods: A cross-sectional survey was undertaken, with nationally or regionally representative samples of in total 13,305 children (mean age 11.4 years) from nine European countries. Pupils in the classroom completed a self-administered questionnaire measuring fruit and vegetable intake and personal, social and environmental factors during one school lesson. Age-adjusted covariance analyses were carried out by gender, for the full sample and for each country separately. Proportions responding positively to the constructs are presented. Results: Overall, European children held a positive attitude towards fruit and vegetable intake. For some constructs, large between-country differences were found. Children had a more positive attitude towards fruit than towards vegetables, and girls were on average more positive than boys. The children perceived their social environment as supportive towards fruit and vegetable intake. They reported good to very good availability of fruit and vegetables at home. However, availability at school and during leisure time activities seemed to be low, both for fruit and for vegetables. Conclusion: A large majority of the children reported positively to the personal and social factors regarding fruit and vegetable intake. As regards availability of fruit and vegetables at school and leisure time, and accessibility of fruit and vegetables at home, there is room for improvement.

 

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