Public Health Nutrition

Research Article

Correlates of fruit and vegetable intake among Norwegian schoolchildren: parental and self-reports

Elling Berea1 c1 and Knut-Inge Kleppa1

a1 Institute for Nutrition Research, University of Oslo, Box 1046 Blindern, 0316 Oslo, Norway


Objectives: To identify correlates of 6th and 7th graders' (age 10–12 years) fruit and vegetable intake, to investigate parent–child correlations of fruit and vegetable intake, and to compare parents' and children's reports of children's accessibility, skills and preferences with respect to fruit and vegetables.

Design: The results presented are based on the baseline survey of the ‘Fruits and Vegetables Make the Marks Project’, where 38 schools participated.

Setting: Fruit and vegetable intake was measured by food frequency questions. Theoretical factors, based on Social Cognitive Theory, potentially correlated to intake were measured, including behavioural skills, accessibility, modelling, intention, preferences, self-efficacy and awareness of 5-a-day recommendations.

Subjects: In total, 1950 (participation rate 85%) 6th and 7th graders and 1647 of their parents participated.

Results: Overall, 34% of the variance in the pupils' reported fruit and vegetable intake was explained by the measured factors. The strongest correlates to fruit and vegetable intake were preferences and accessibility. The correlation between the children's and their parents' fruit and vegetable intake was 0.23. The parents perceived their children's accessibility to be better than what was reported by the children (P<0.01), while the children reported their skills to be better than what was perceived by their parents (P<0.01).

Conclusion: The results from this study clearly point to a need for nutrition interventions aimed at parents. An important next step will be to investigate whether the identified correlates predict future fruit and vegetable intake, and whether they mediate any changes in intake in an intervention study.

(Received January 05 2004)

(Accepted March 11 2004)


c1 *Corresponding author: Email