Public Health Nutrition

HOT TOPIC – Fruits and vegetables

Increased exposure to community-based education and ‘below the line’ social marketing results in increased fruit and vegetable consumption

Colleen Glassona1 c1, Kathy Chapmana1, Tamara Wilsona1, Kristi Gandera1, Clare Hughesa1, Nayerra Hudsona1 and Erica Jamesa2

a1 Cancer Council NSW, PO Box 572, Kings Cross, Sydney, NSW 1340, Australia

a2 School of Medicine and Public Health, University of Newcastle, Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia


Objective To determine if localised programmes that are successful in engaging the community can add value to larger fruit and vegetable mass-media campaigns by evaluating the results of the Eat It To Beat It programme.

Design The Eat It To Beat It programme is a multi-strategy intervention that uses community-based education and ‘below the line’ social marketing to increase fruit and vegetable consumption in parents. This programme was evaluated by a controlled before-and-after study with repeat cross-sectional data collected via computer-assisted telephone interviews with 1403 parents before the intervention (2008) and 1401 following intervention delivery (2011).

Setting The intervention area was the Hunter region and the control area was the New England region of New South Wales, Australia.

Subjects Parents of primary school-aged children (Kindergarten to Year 6).

Results The programme achieved improvements in knowledge of recommended intakes for fruit and vegetables and some positive changes in knowledge of serving size for vegetables. Exposure to the programme resulted in a net increase of 0·5 servings of fruit and vegetables daily for those who recalled the programme compared with those who did not (P = 0·004). Increased intake of fruit and vegetables was significantly associated with increasing exposure to programme strategies.

Conclusions The Eat It To Beat It programme demonstrates that an increase in consumption of fruit and vegetables can be achieved by programmes that build on the successes of larger mass-media and social-marketing campaigns. This suggests that funding for localised, community-based programmes should be increased.

(Received May 16 2012)

(Revised April 10 2013)

(Accepted May 08 2013)

(Online publication June 28 2013)


  • Fruit;
  • Vegetables;
  • Community intervention;
  • Controlled before-and-after study


c1 Corresponding author: Email