Date of Award
Master of Science (MS)
Department of Family and Consumer Sciences
Julie R. Schumacher
Fruits and vegetables are an important part of our diet, yet few individuals consume the recommended amounts. Incorporating produce in our diet provides many necessary nutrients and may aid in decreasing the risk of chronic disease, controlling obesity and improving mental functioning. In an attempt to increase intake, a program was created to provide fresh fruits and vegetables on a weekly basis to an Illinois State University population for eight weeks. Participants chose from three sizes of produce bags and were supplied with seven different types of fruits and vegetables each week. Dietetic interns performed the planning, ordering, organizing and preparing of the produce for participants to pick up as well as managing volunteers to help with the process. The purpose of this quantitative study was to test whether the program would increase the consumption of fruits and vegetables for its participants or otherwise change the behavior of the participants regarding fruits and vegetables. While individuals who were involved in the fruit and vegetable program had an increase in both fruit and vegetable consumption, those increases were not significant. The study also found insignificant increases in intake of vitamin-rich vegetables (defined as broccoli, Brussels sprouts, carrots, collards, kale, red pepper, spinach, sweet potatoes and winter squash) and leafy green vegetables (defined as collards, kale, mustard greens, romaine lettuce, spinach, or Swiss chard). After the study, participants were significantly more likely to consume a lunch or dinner meal containing grains, vegetables or beans but little or no meat, poultry, fish, eggs or cheese. An improvement in the healthy quality of participant's diets (based on the total points available in the survey) was observed after the program, but it was not significant. Data from Likert-style healthy eating behavior questions were also analyzed using principal component analysis with varimax rotation. Participants perceived that they increased fruit and vegetable consumption and improved their healthy eating behaviors while involved in the program.
Arbuckle, Jeanne, "The Effect of a Fruit and Vegetable Program on Diet Quality and Produce Consumption" (2015). Theses and Dissertations. 334.