Boosting Lunch Is In The Bag
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Lunch Is In The Bag (LIITB) was a multi-level behavioral intervention with the goal of increasing the amounts of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains that parents pack in their preschoolers' lunches. The purpose of this dissertation project was to: 1) to examine the temperatures of perishable food items packed in preschoolers' sack lunches; 2) to examine parents' psychosocial constructs that relate to packing fruits, vegetables, and whole grains at four periods during the booster study; 3) to assess the servings of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains with the related nutrient content at four periods during the booster study. The four assessment periods are before LIITB, after LIITB, before the one-week booster, and after the one-week booster. Results showed that more than 97 percent of perishable food items in the sack lunches were stored at unacceptable temperatures (40-140°F). Servings of vegetables (-0.15, p=0.05) and whole grains (-0.53, p<0.0001) in preschool lunches decreased significantly before the booster in the intervention group. The booster increased the servings of vegetables (0.10, p=0.09) and whole grains (0.16, p =0.01) compared to booster baseline. The one-week booster increased thiamin, dietary fiber, and vitamin C content of foods in preschoolers' lunches. During the booster study, parents experienced improvement in psychosocial variables after LIITB and before the booster. Knowledge decreased before the booster. Parents' psychosocial variables were linked to packing more vegetables and significantly more whole grains due to the intervention. Education for parents and the public must focus on methods of packing safe, healthy lunches in order to prevent foodborne illness and chronic disease. The results of this study provide data for continued examination of an area of parental behavior related to packing lunches for their children. The booster study demonstrated that a booster was important for maintenance of program outcomes, and to increase the servings of vegetables and whole grains that parents packed in their preschool children's lunches.