BACKGROUND: To our knowledge, no reviews have assessed the impact of a range of multi- and single-component school-based programs on daily fruit and vegetable intake by using a meta-analysis.
OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study was to quantify the impact of school-based interventions on fruit and vegetable intake in children aged 5-12 y.
DESIGN: A systematic literature review was carried out to identify randomized and nonrandomized controlled trials that were based in primary schools and designed to increase portions of daily fruit and vegetable intake. MEDLINE, Cochrane libraries, EMBASE, Psyc-INFO, and Educational Information Centre were searched from 1985 to 2009. Data were extracted, and mean effect sizes were calculated by using random effects models.
RESULTS: A total of 27 school-based programs involving 26,361 children were identified that met the inclusion criteria and assessed the daily weight of fruit and vegetable intake combined, fruit intake only, or vegetable intake only, and 21 studies were used in meta-analyses. The results of the meta-analyses indicated an improvement of 0.25 portions (95% CI: 0.06, 0.43 portions) of fruit and vegetable daily intake if fruit juice was excluded and an improvement of 0.32 portions (95% CI: 0.14, 0.50 portions) if fruit juice was included. Improvement was mainly due to increases in fruit consumption but not in vegetable consumption. The results of the meta-analyses for fruit (excluding juice) and vegetables separately indicated an improvement of 0.24 portions (95% CI: 0.05, 0.43 portions) and 0.07 portions (95% CI: -0.03, 0.16 portions), respectively.
CONCLUSIONS: School-based interventions moderately improve fruit intake but have minimal impact on vegetable intake. Additional studies are needed to address the barriers for success in changing dietary behavior, particularly in relation to vegetables. 2012 American Society for Nutrition