Public Health Nutrition

Research Paper

Healthy whole-grain choices for children and parents: a multi-component school-based pilot intervention

Teri L Burgess-Champouxa1 p1, Hing Wan Chana1, Renee Rosena1, Len Marquarta1 and Marla Reicksa1 c1

a1 Department of Food Science and Nutrition, University of Minnesota, 1334 Eckles Avenue, 225 FScN, St. Paul, MN 55108, USA


Objective The aim of the present study was to pilot-test a school-based intervention designed to increase consumption of whole grains by 4th and 5th grade children.

Design This multi-component school-based pilot intervention utilised a quasi-experimental study design (intervention and comparison schools) that consisted of a five-lesson classroom curriculum based on Social Cognitive Theory, school cafeteria menu modifications to increase the availability of whole-grain foods and family-oriented activities. Meal observations of children estimated intake of whole grains at lunch. Children and parents completed questionnaires to assess changes in knowledge, availability, self-efficacy, usual food choice and role modelling.

Setting/sample Parent/child pairs from two schools in the Minneapolis metropolitan area; 67 in the intervention and 83 in the comparison school.

Results Whole-grain consumption at the lunch meal increased by 1 serving (P < 0·0001) and refined-grain consumption decreased by 1 serving for children in the intervention school compared with the comparison school post-intervention (P < 0·001). Whole-grain foods were more available in the lunches served to children in the intervention school compared with the comparison school post-intervention (P < 0·0001). The ability to identify whole-grain foods by children in both schools increased, with a trend towards a greater increase in the intervention school (P = 0·06). Parenting scores for scales for role modelling (P < 0·001) and enabling behaviours (P < 0·05) were significantly greater for parents in the intervention school compared with the comparison school post-intervention.

Conclusions The multi-component school-based programme implemented in the current study successfully increased the intake of whole-grain foods by children.

(Received October 09 2006)

(Accepted October 11 2007)


c1 Email

p1 Currently at Department of Food and Nutrition, College of Human Development, University of Wisconsin-Stout, Menomonie, WI, USA