Interventions for increasing fruit and vegetable consumption in children aged five years and under.Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2018; 1:CD008552CD
Insufficient consumption of fruits and vegetables in childhood increases the risk of future chronic diseases, including cardiovascular disease.
To assess the effectiveness, cost effectiveness and associated adverse events of interventions designed to increase the consumption of fruit, vegetables or both amongst children aged five years and under.
We searched the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL) in the Cochrane Library, MEDLINE and Embase to identify eligible trials on 25 September 2017. We searched Proquest Dissertations and Theses and two clinical trial registers in November 2017. We reviewed reference lists of included trials and handsearched three international nutrition journals. We contacted authors of included studies to identify further potentially relevant trials.
We included randomised controlled trials, including cluster-randomised controlled trials and cross-over trials, of any intervention primarily targeting consumption of fruit, vegetables or both among children aged five years and under, and incorporating a dietary or biochemical assessment of fruit or vegetable consumption. Two review authors independently screened titles and abstracts of identified papers; a third review author resolved disagreements.
DATA COLLECTION AND ANALYSIS
Two review authors independently extracted data and assessed the risks of bias of included studies; a third review author resolved disagreements. Due to unexplained heterogeneity, we used random-effects models in meta-analyses for the primary review outcomes where we identified sufficient trials. We calculated standardised mean differences (SMDs) to account for the heterogeneity of fruit and vegetable consumption measures. We conducted assessments of risks of bias and evaluated the quality of evidence (GRADE approach) using Cochrane procedures.
We included 55 trials with 154 trial arms and 11,108 participants. Thirty-three trials examined the impact of child-feeding practices (e.g. repeated food exposure) in increasing child vegetable intake. Thirteen trials examined the impact of parent nutrition education in increasing child fruit and vegetable intake. Eight studies examined the impact of multicomponent interventions (e.g. parent nutrition education and preschool policy changes) in increasing child fruit and vegetable intake. One study examined the effect of a nutrition intervention delivered to children in increasing child fruit and vegetable intake.We judged 14 of the 55 included trials as free from high risks of bias across all domains; performance, detection and attrition bias were the most common domains judged at high risk of bias for the remaining studies.Meta-analysis of trials examining child-feeding practices versus no intervention revealed a positive effect on child vegetable consumption (SMD 0.38, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.15 to 0.61; n = 1509; 11 studies; very low-quality evidence), equivalent to a mean difference of 4.03 g of vegetables. There were no short-term differences in child consumption of fruit and vegetables in meta-analyses of trials examining parent nutrition education versus no intervention (SMD 0.11, 95% CI -0.05 to 0.28; n = 3023; 10 studies; very low-quality evidence) or multicomponent interventions versus no intervention (SMD 0.28, 95% CI -0.06 to 0.63; n = 1861; 4 studies; very low-quality evidence).Insufficient data were available to assess long-term effectiveness, cost effectiveness and unintended adverse consequences of interventions. Studies reported receiving governmental or charitable funds, except for three studies reporting industry funding.