alexa Environmental Influences on Dietary Behavior among Children: Availability and Accessibility of Fruits and Vegetables Enable Consumption


Journal of Nutritional Disorders & Therapy

Author(s): Lillian S Lin

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Environmental variables can enable or impede children concerning what foods they consume. Availability and accessibility of foods are potentially important environmental variables. Availability concerns whether the foods are present in the home or school, while accessibility concerns whether the foods are prepared, presented, and/or maintained in a form that enables or encourages children to eat them. We hypothesized that greater availability and accessibility would lead to more consumption. Baseline data from two school nutrition education projects were used to examine relationships between availability/accessibility and consumption of fruits and vegetables. In one study, children's consumption of fruits and vegetables (from seven day food records) was related to home availability and accessibility (as assessed by a parent telephone interview), after controlling for psychosocial characteristics. In the second study, children ate more fruits and vegetables for lunch at schools that offered more fruits and vegetables for lunch, after controlling for socioeconomic status. These results offer preliminary support for the hypothesized relationships. Future research must delineate the anticipated complex relationships among food purchase and preparation practices that lead to availability and accessibility, child and parent food preferences, and consumption, in order to more clearly guide interventions.

This article was published in Journal of Health Education and referenced in Journal of Nutritional Disorders & Therapy

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