Individual and familial factors associated with fruit and vegetable intake among 11- to 14-year-old Romanian school children.Health Soc Care Community 2015; 23(5):541-9HS
The healthy nutrition guidelines proposed by international research institutes and the World Health Organization recommend a daily intake of fruit and vegetables of at least 400 g, representing five servings a day (each serving contains around 80 g). Moreover, the recommendations stress the importance of consuming both fruit and vegetables daily, preferably at least two portions of fruit and three portions of vegetables per day. To efficiently develop interventions for promoting fruit and vegetable consumption among children, it is essential to identify and understand the factors that influence these behaviours. The present study aims at identifying the individual and familial factors which influence fruit and vegetable consumption among Romanian children. A cross-sectional survey by means of anonymous questionnaires was conducted among 361 school children, aged 11-14, from Cluj-Napoca, Romania (April-May 2011). Multiple linear regression analyses were used to assess the correlates of fruit and vegetable intake. The results show that 44.6% of the children met the recommendations regarding fruit intake, while 9.1% of the children declared eating the daily recommended portions of vegetables. Knowledge regarding the recommended number of daily servings and higher self-efficacy concerning the intake of fruit and vegetables every day were positively associated with higher consumption of fruit and vegetables. Fruit preference also influenced positively the consumption of fruit. The familial factor associated with vegetable intake was the perceived behaviour of the mother, while fruit intake was higher among children who declared higher fruit availability at home. Hence, it is necessary to develop in Romania nutrition interventions addressing the determinants of fruit and vegetable intake as identified by this study; these interventions should target both children and parents.