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To investigate the effects of providing free fruit and snack vegetables at a university on students’ fruit intake, snack vegetable intake and total vegetable intake.
Free fruit and raw snack vegetables (e.g. bite-sized tomatoes) were provided in a stand in the form of a miniature wooden house located in the central hall of the university’s main building, which students regularly pass through on their way to lectures and the cafeteria. Three interventions tested with a pre-test/post-test design were performed. In these three interventions, small changes to the appearance of the stand were made, such as placing potted plants around it. Demographic characteristics and fruit and vegetable intakes were assessed with questionnaires.
A Dutch university of applied science.
Intervention 1 included 124 students; Intervention 2 included ninety-two students; Intervention 3 included 237 students.
Longitudinal linear regression analyses showed that post-test snack vegetable intake was consistently higher compared with pre-test. In the three interventions, post-test snack vegetable intakes were between 11 and 14 g/d higher than at the pre-test, which is comparable to three bite-sized tomatoes. No differences in fruit intake or total vegetable intake were found. Subgroup analyses showed that, in all three interventions, students with the lowest pre-test fruit intake and total vegetable intake reported the largest increase in fruit intake and snack vegetable intake after the interventions.
Providing free fruit and vegetables to students at their university might be beneficial for those with low habitual intakes.
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