Promoting Fruit and Vegetable Consumption among European Schoolchildren: Rationale, Conceptualization and Design of the Pro Children ProjectKlepp K.-I.a · Pérez-Rodrigo C.b · de Bourdeaudhuij I.c · Due P.P.d · Elmadfa I.e · Haraldsdóttir J.f · König J.g · Sjöström M.h · Thórsdóttir I.i · Vaz de Almeida M.D.j · Yngve A.h · Brug J.k
aDepartment of Nutrition, Faculty of Medicine, University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway; bCommunity Nutrition Unit, Department of Public Health, Bilbao, Spain; cDepartment of Movement and Sport Sciences, Ghent University, Ghent, Belgium; dDepartment of Social Medicine, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark; eInstitute for Nutritional Sciences, University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria; fResearch Department of Human Nutrition, Royal Veterinary and Agricultural University, Copenhagen, Denmark; gInstitute of Food, Nutrition and Human Health, Massey University, Palmerston North, New Zealand; hUnit for Preventive Nutrition, Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden; iUnit for Nutrition Research, Landspitali University Hospital, Reykjavik, Iceland; jFaculty of Nutrition and Food Sciences, University of Porto, Porto, Portugal; kDepartment of Public Health, Erasmus University Medical Center Rotterdam, Rotterdam, The Netherlands
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Background/Aims: The Pro Children Project was designed to assess fruit and vegetable consumption in European schoolchildren and their parents, as well as determinants of the children’s consumption patterns. A second objective was to develop and test strategies, applicable across Europe, for promoting consumption of fruits and vegetables among schoolchildren and their parents. In this paper, the rationale, theoretical background, overall design and implementation of the project is presented. Methods: Surveys of national, representative samples of 11-year-old schoolchildren and their parents were conducted in 9 countries, i.e. in Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Iceland, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain and Sweden. Comprehensive school-based educational programmes have been developed and tested in three settings, i.e. in Spain, the Netherlands and in Norway. A precoded 24-hour recall form combined with a set of food frequency questions assessing regular intake were used to assess fruit and vegetable consumption. Determinants were assessed employing a comprehensive theoretical framework including personal, social and environmental factors related to fruit and vegetable consumption. The intervention programmes have been tested employing a group-randomized trial design where schools have been randomly allocated to an intervention arm and a delayed intervention arm. Surveys among all participating children and their parents were conducted prior to the initiation of the intervention, immediately after the end of the intervention and at the end of the subsequent school year. Conclusion: The project is expected to provide new information of great importance for improving our understanding of consumption patterns of fruits and vegetables and for guiding future efforts to promote increased consumption patterns across Europe.
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