Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Nutrition and Food Science


Nutrition and Food Sciences

First Advisor

Geoffrey W. Greene


Objective: Evaluate the impact of an 8-lesson Policy, Systems, and Environment (PSE) nutrition intervention on students’ asking self-efficacy for fruits and vegetables (FV’s).

Study Design: Quasi-experimental mixed-methods design.

Participants/Setting: N=142 (n=85 intervention, n=57 control) 5th grade students from urban, low-income elementary schools.

Intervention: Intervention group received an intervention designed to empower students in making changes to their food environment.

Main Outcome Measures: Self-reported asking self-efficacy for fruit and vegetables, FV and PSE knowledge, and FV consumption and variety. Semi-structured focus groups assessed students’ self-efficacy.

Analyses: Analysis of covariance, Wilcoxon signed-rank test, paired t-tests for survey data. Thematic analysis for focus group data.

Results: There were no significant differences in school and home self-efficacy between or within groups. There were no between group differences in other variables. There was a significant increase in FV knowledge and a decrease in vegetable consumption and variety within the intervention group (p < 0.05). Fruit consumption significantly increased (p < 0.01 in both groups). Themes that emerged in pre- and post- focus groups were: self-efficacy in asking for a favorite FV, outcome expectation as a result in asking, identifying strategies in increasing FV frequency, and helping at home with food preparation. At post-intervention, students better described their feelings of self-efficacy compared to pre-intervention. Students at post positively reflected on the intervention in that they enjoyed being involved in change.

Conclusion and Implication: There were no significant differences in self-efficacy and PSE knowledge assessed by surveys. Focus group data revealed that students who received the PSE intervention perceived positive changes on self-efficacy in asking for FV and that they understood school and home PSE. The discrepancy between assessment methods needs to be expanded in future research.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License



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