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Eating Veggies Is Fun! An Implementation Pilot Study in Partnership With a YMCA in South Los Angeles.

  • Author(s): Maxwell, Annette E
  • Castillo, Laura
  • Arce, Anthony A
  • De Anda, Teresa
  • Martins, David
  • McCarthy, William J
  • et al.
Abstract

PURPOSE AND OBJECTIVES:Children eat less than recommended amounts of vegetables. Repeated taste exposure can increase children's acceptance of initially disliked vegetables. However, implementation of this strategy is lacking. We conducted a pilot study to assess the feasibility of implementing an evidence-based intervention to promote liking of initially disliked vegetables among children enrolled in a YMCA summer camp. INTERVENTION APPROACH:We adapted a research-tested intervention to promote child liking of vegetables for implementation in small groups. In summer 2015, 50 children aged 7 to 12 years were invited to taste 5 initially disliked vegetables daily for 10 days. EVALUATION METHODS:Children rated how much they liked vegetables on a 5-point emoji-like faces Likert scale at baseline and 2- and 4-week follow-up. The mean ratings for liked and initially disliked vegetables were estimated over time using mixed effects modeling. RESULTS:We achieved excellent participation of parents and children; however, we experienced nonstudy-related attrition caused by disenrollment of some children from the weekly camp program. The average liking increased over time (linear trend, P = .003) for the 5 targeted vegetables but not for the other nontargeted vegetables, as predicted. IMPLICATIONS FOR PUBLIC HEALTH:This pilot study suggests that repeated vegetable tasting opportunities offered by community programs may be a practical strategy for introducing low-income, young children to new or initially disliked vegetables. The study demonstrates the feasibility of implementing a health promotion strategy that has the potential to improve population health in a community setting in an underresourced neighborhood.

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