Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Nutrition and Food Science


Nutrition and Food Sciences

First Advisor

Geoffrey W. Greene


Objectives: To determine the effect of a policy, systems, and environmental (PSE) intervention, Students Take Charge! (STC), among 4th and 5th grade students from low-income communities on 1) fruit and vegetable (FV) intake, and 2) PSE and FV knowledge, and self-efficacy (SE) to ask for FV at school and home.

Methods: A quasi-experimental design was used involving six schools over two years. Schools were purposely selected; two schools each year either received STC or standard instruction. The study sample includes students (n=326 intervention; n=351 comparison) providing pre and post data (baseline and post-assessment at week 18). Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program-Education (SNAP-Ed) educators provided the 8-lesson STC curriculum across 18 weeks; comparison students received standard instruction. STC is a school-based PSE intervention focusing on empowering students to make FV-based changes at school and at home. STC taught students about wellness policies, persuasive messages, and making requests; it cumulated with a vote to add a student submitted FV-based recipe to the school lunch menu. In addition, STC provided information about the importance of FV intake. Students completed the STC survey at both time points assessing FV intake, knowledge and SE. Analyses compared intervention and comparison students from baseline to post-assessment using analysis of covariance (ANCOVA) for objective 1 and multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA) objective 2.

Results: From baseline to post-assessment, there were significant differences (p<0.01) between intervention and comparison students; intervention students had higher fruit intake, increased PSE knowledge and SE in school. There were no between group differences in vegetable intake, FV knowledge, or in students SE to ask parents for FV in the home when comparing the intervention group to the control group.

Conclusion: STC was associated with an increase in fruit intake, PSE knowledge and student SE to ask for FV in school. STC may require additional strategies, including home-based strategies, to increase vegetable intake, FV knowledge, and student SE to ask for FV at home.



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