Date of Award

2014

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Nutrition and Food Science

Department

Nutrition and Food Sciences

First Advisor

Geoffrey Greene

Abstract

Objective: To evaluate the mobile application, LaLa Lunchbox, on improving the dietary quality of lunches brought from home.

Design: Quasi-experimental design.

Setting: Middle school in East, Greenwich, RI.

Participants: 25 students in the 6th grade who were predominately white (72%) females (76%) with an average age of 11.2 years.

Intervention: For 4 weeks, LaLa Lunchbox app was used to create virtual lunchbox for each school day of the following week.

Main Outcome Measure: Lunch Quality Index (LQI) scores calculated based on the presence or absence of fruit, vegetables, protein, or empty calorie snack with a maximum score of 4 points based on four lunch observations at baseline, week 2 and 4 of intervention, and 1 week follow-up.

Analysis: A repeated-measures analysis of variance (ANOVA) measured the LQI score over time between the 2 groups.

Results: Although there were no differences between groups, there was an effect of time on LQI score (p < .05). Overall fruit (67.4%) and protein (80.4%) were included in most lunches but a high calorie snack was also frequently included (52.2%) and vegetables rarely included (21.7%).

Conclusions and Implications: The mobile application, LaLa Lunchbox was not effective in improving dietary quality as a stand-alone intervention, but could be useful as a tool in combination with nutrition education focusing on increasing vegetables and reducing empty calorie snacks.

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