New Study: A randomized control trial of a Canadian-based school food program on the home food environment
A team of researchers led by Rebecca Reagan with Sarah J Woodruff, Jamie A Seabrook, and Jason Gilliland recently published an article entitled: “A randomized control trial of a Canadian-based school food program on the home food environment.”
Research provides evidence of take-home effects in school-based nutrition interventions, citing children as important influencers of family nutrition, acting as agents of change in the household and potentially influencing family food consumption. Therefore, the purpose of this randomized control trial was to examine whether implementation of a centrally procured school food program would produce changes in children’s home food environment, including fruit and/or vegetable availability and parental modelling of fruit and/or vegetable consumption. A secondary objective was to investigate whether children’s fruit and/or vegetable intake predicted their parent’s fruit and/or vegetable intake.
A total of 60 schools participated in the evaluation, including 2443 students (and their parents) in grades 5–8. Findings indicated that the intervention did not produce take-home effects on children’s home availability of fruit (p = 0.52) and vegetables (p = 0.67) or parental modelling of fruit (p = 0.26) and vegetable consumption (p = 0.78), which may be related to the fact that only food provisions were given. However, children’s fruit and vegetable consumption predicted parents’ fruit and vegetable consumption (p < 0.001), thereby indicating that children may possess the capacity to influence home nutrition.
Future school-based nutrition interventions are recommended to be multi-component (e.g. experiential learning, parent involvement) and that encourage nutrition leadership opportunities for children in the home context.
Citation: Rebecca Reagan, Sarah J Woodruff, Jamie A Seabrook, and Jason Gilliland. “A randomized control trial of a Canadian-based school food program on the home food environment.” Health Promotion International (2022); https://doi.org/10.1093/heapro/daac087