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Fluids & Electrolytes
The objective of this study was to improve attitudes toward and increase the fruit and vegetable consumption of fifth-grade students through a modified implementation of the 11-lesson CookshopTM program. One hundred twenty-six fifth graders from 3 urban and suburban schools participated in the Cookshop program consisting of classroom cooking lessons and parental involvement. Student's dietary intake was assessed via a 24-hour recall and the NCI food frequency. A Cookshop questionaire evaluated changes in knowledge, food exposure, shopping, eating habits, and attitudes about food. Although fifth graders did not change their dietary habits, they showed a difference in food exposure and willingness to try new foods. These modifications are critical first steps to changing dietary habits.
INCREASED FRUIT and vegetable consumption has been highly correlated with the reduced risk of chronic diseases. 1-6 Eating habits originate early in life, therefore children's diet, particularly their fruit and vegetable intake, can be an important indicator for disease risk. 7 Research reveals that American children are not eating the recommended amounts of fruits, vegetables, and fiber-rich cereal grains and their subsequent diet quality is low. 8-10 On average, children consume less than 4 servings of fruits and vegetables per day, with only 20% of children consuming 5 or more servings of fruits and vegetables per day. 8,9 One quarter of all vegetables consumed by children is in the form of French fries and more than 50% of fruit intake is juice. 8 Low intake of high-quality fruits and vegetables is associated with inadequate intake of vitamin A, vitamin C, and fiber. 11 Healthful dietary habits in childhood can provide a base for healthy food habits and potentially reduce the risk of chronic diseases in adulthood. 11-13
Research shows that the development of lifelong healthy eating is multifaceted. 14 Behaviorally focused, as opposed to knowledge focused, nutrition education is more likely to be effective in changing eating habits. 15 The CookShopTM program, a hands-on behaviorally focused program developed by the Community Food Resource Center in New York City, has been successful. 16 An evaluation indicated that when cooking and eating experiences were coupled with cognitive learning, there was a decrease in plate waste of targeted foods (fruits, vegetables, and grain products). In addition, children who were not exposed to these foods through classroom, cooking were usually unwilling to try or eat the targeted foods. The purpose of this project was to improve attitudes toward and increase the fruit and vegetable consumption of fifth-grade students through a modified implementation of the 11-lesson CookShop program.
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