Patterns in Child and Adolescent Consumption of Fruit and Vegetables: Effects of Gender and Ethnicity across Four Sites

Document Type



Community and Global Health (CGU)

Publication Date



Food Studies | Medical Nutrition | Medicine and Health Sciences | Mental and Social Health


Objectives: Few studies have examined the association of gender and ethnicity with fruit and vegetable consumption. We examined these associations using baseline data from four school-based sites funded under the National Cancer Institute’s 5 A Day for Better Health Program.

Methods: Diet was measured using 24-hour recalls at three sites and seven-day food records at one site. Demographics were obtained via self-report or school records. Regression analyses for clustered data were employed with fruit and vegetables combined and fruit and vegetables separately.

Results: Girls ate more fruit, more vegetables and more fruit and vegetables combined than boys at the Georgia site. Ethnicity was significant in two sites: In Georgia, African-Americans ate more fruit and more fruit and vegetables combined than European-Americans; in Minnesota, Asian-American/Pacific Islanders and African-Americans ate more fruit than European-Americans, and European-Americans and African-Americans ate more vegetables than Asian-Americans. No significant effects were found at the Alabama or Louisiana sites.

Conclusions: Ethnicity was related to fruit and vegetable consumption in Georgia and Minnesota. Consistent with prior studies, gender was related to fruit and vegetable consumption, with girls consuming more servings than boys; however, this was observed at one site only, Georgia. Consumption levels were similar to national estimates for children and varied by region. Further studies are needed using a single methodology to facilitate regional comparisons.

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