Increasing portion size can increase children's consumption of food. The goal of this study was to determine whether increasing the portion sizes of fruits and vegetables in an elementary school cafeteria environment would increase children's consumption of them. We measured each child's consumption of the fruit and vegetables served in a cafeteria line on a control day (normal cafeteria procedures) and on two intervention days. When we increased the portion size of 3 of the 4 fruits and vegetables by about 50%, children who took those foods increased their consumption of them. Although this was an effective strategy for increasing fruit and vegetable consumption among students who took those foods, many children chose not to take any fruits or vegetables. Further efforts are needed to increase children's selection and consumption of fruits and vegetables in an environment of competing foods of higher palatability.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
Acknowledgements: We thank Deb LaBounty, Food Service director for the Richfield School system, and the staff at the STEM elementary school for allowing us to use their facilities and students. Thanks also to the many undergraduate students who helped with the data collection. The study was funded by Economic Research Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Grant: Developing Research Capacity to Test Behavioral Economic Interventions in Child Nutrition Programs. This research was also supported in part by the Minnesota Agricultural Experiment Station ( MIN--54-057 ).
© 2015 Elsevier Ltd.
- Elementary school students
- Portion size
- Vegetable consumption