Measuring factors associated with fruit and vegetable consumption in rural 4th grade students

Patrick J. Brady, Natoshia M. Askelson, Grace Ryan, Emily Adam, Eliza Daly, Carrie Scheidel, Patti Delger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Objective: Rural youth are more likely to be obese and have poor diets compared to their non-rural peers; therefore, our objective was to understand factors related to healthy eating habits in this population. Methods: We used survey data from 4th graders (N = 995) in a Midwestern state’s rural areas to explore nutrition knowledge, fruit or vegetable (F/V) attitudes, beliefs, preferences, and previous day’s consumption. We produced descriptive statistics, compared attitudes, beliefs, preferences, and consumption for fruits versus vegetables using multilevel linear regression, and used multilevel logistic regression to assess predictors of F/V consumption controlling for sociode-mographic factors. Results: Fruit and vegetable consumption was low, with over 10% reporting no fruit consumption and over 20% reporting no vegetable consumption. Students rated fruits higher than vegetables on each variable of interest. Knowledge (OR = 1.2) and liking fruits (OR = 2.2) were associated with fruit consumption. Knowledge (OR = 1.2), liking vegetables (OR = 2.4), and vegetable preferences (OR = 1.4) were associated with vegetable consumption. Conclusions: Schools should implement interventions that increase access and exposure to healthy foods and target knowledge, attitudes around liking F/V, and vegetable preferences for rural youth, such as nutrition education, school gardens, and farm-to-school programs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)247-256
Number of pages10
JournalHealth Behavior and Policy Review
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2021
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors acknowledge the school staff, teachers, and students who participated in the project. This project was supported by a Team Nutrition Training Grant for Fiscal Year 2016 CFDA#: 10.574. This project has been funded at least in part with Federal funds from the US Department of Agriculture. The contents of this publication do not necessarily reflect the view or policies of the US Department of Agriculture, nor does mention of trade names, commercial products, or organizations imply endorsement by the US Government. The US Department of Agriculture had no role in the design, analysis, or writing of this paper.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021, Paris Scholar Publishing. All rights reserved.


  • Child health
  • Diet
  • Elementary school youth
  • Nutrition
  • Rural health
  • School health


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