Can an Educational Program on the Nutritional Benefits of Citrus Fruit Positively Influence the Nutritional Attitudes of Children?

in HortTechnology
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  • 1 Texas Cooperative Extension, County Extension Agent–Horticulture, 1402 Band Road Suite 100, Rosenberg, TX 77471.
  • 2 Department of Horticultural Sciences, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX 77843-2133.

The Citrus Guide, Teaching Healthy Living Through Horticulture (Citrus Guide) is an activity guide designed to help teachers integrate nutrition education into their classrooms. The objectives of this research project were to: 1) help teachers integrate nutrition education, specifically as it relates to citrus fruit, into their curricula by using the Citrus Guide; and 2) evaluate whether students developed more positive attitudes towards citrus fruit by participating in activities from the Citrus Guide. The nutritional attitudes of 157 second through fifth grade students were measured with a citrus fruit preference questionnaire divided into two sections: one targeting citrus fruit and the other targeting citrus snacks. After participating in the activities, no differences were detected in attitudes towards citrus fruit. However, students did have more positive attitudes towards citrus snacks after participating in the activities, with female students and younger students having the greatest improvement in citrus snack attitude scores. Also, there was a direct positive correlation between more grapefruit and oranges consumed daily and students' attitudes towards citrus fruit.

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