Demographic relationships to students' fruit and vegetable intake

Jane C. Hurley, Meredith Bruening, Punam Ohri-Vachaspati, Marc Adams

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Objectives: Fruit and vegetable (FV) intake remains inadequate in youth and differs across demographic subgroups. We examined relationships between student demographic characteristics and amounts of fresh FV selected, consumed, and wasted at school lunch. Methods: Randomly selected students (N = 294) at 3 middle schools participated. Weights (g) of FV selected and wasted were measured. School-cluster adjusted regressions examined the association between student demographics and dependent variables. Two-way interactions were explored. Results: No significant differences were found for student demographics on FV selected, consumed, or wasted. An interaction between free/reduced-price lunch status (SES) and sex of student on FV consumed was significant (omnibus p-value = .01). In probing the interaction, girls eligible for free/reduced-price lunch ate less than girls paying full price (83.9 versus 109.1 g). For boys the interaction reversed: boys paying full price ate less than boys eligible for free/reduced-price lunch on average (73.3 g vs 96.8 g). Conclusions: Demographics did not relate to objective FV consumption at lunch. Further analysis revealed a sex by SES interaction. These findings contradict previous literature mainly focused on children's self-reported FV intake. Results may inform interventions aiming for equitable improvements in FV intake.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)60-69
Number of pages10
JournalAmerican journal of health behavior
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 2018


  • Fruit
  • Lunch
  • School health
  • Social determinants
  • Vegetables

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Social Psychology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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