Issue addressed: Children’s fruit and vegetable (FV) consumption in Australia is below levels recommended for optimal growth, development and health. Methods: ‘Kids in the Kitchen’ is a classroom-based program that engages students in preparing FV. Impact evaluation was conducted with students from Grade 1 (around 6 years old) and Grade 5 (around 11 years old) who participated in the program. A questionnaire was used to collect pre- and post-program data on knowledge, attitudes and consumption of FV, FV preparation skills and environmental supports for FV consumption. A skill audit was also conducted for Grade 1 students. Results: Study participants (n = 118) included 70 Grade 1 and 48 Grade 5 students. There was an increase in the median number of fruits correctly identified (from 14 to 16), tried (from 14 to 16) and liked (from 10.5 to 12; P = 0.0001 for all changes). The median number of vegetables correctly identified increased from 10 to 12 (P = 0.0001), but there was no change in the number of vegetables tried or liked. The proportion of participants who rated their skills in using a knife to prepare FV as ‘not really that good’ decreased by 15%, from 42% to 27% (P = 0.04). Grade 1 participants’ skills in cutting, grating and peeling improved (P = 0.0001 for all changes). Conclusions: If children are involved in the preparation of FV, they are more likely to correctly identify them, try them, like them and eat them. So what?: Primary schools have the potential to contribute to children’s nutrition through hands-on food preparation activities.
Health Promotion Journal of Australia / Vol. 26, No. 2, pp.146-149