Off-campus UMass Amherst users: To download campus access theses, please use the following link to log into our proxy server with your UMass Amherst user name and password.

Non-UMass Amherst users: Please talk to your librarian about requesting this thesis through interlibrary loan.

Theses that have an embargo placed on them will not be available to anyone until the embargo expires.

Document Type

Open Access

Degree Program

Nutrition

Degree Type

Master of Science (M.S.)

Year Degree Awarded

2012

Month Degree Awarded

May

Keywords

nutrition, education, puppet, vegetable, children, sensory

Abstract

Multi-sensory nutrition education interventions aimed at promoting children’s preferences for vegetables have the potential to positively impact children’s intake of essential micronutrients and phytochemicals. We implemented our intervention in Western Massachusetts Head Start preschool classrooms, as part of Massachusetts Farm Fresh research project. Social cognitive theory, early childhood developmental milestones, and the play approach to learning provided the framework. During the 4-week intervention, eight vegetables were matched by appearance and growing process to create vegetable pairs (green bean-sugar snap pea, broccoli-cauliflower, beet-radish, and carrot-parsnip). Each week, two animal puppets introduced the children in the classroom to the vegetable pairs by highlighting the vegetable’s color, shape, texture, and growth process. Complete baseline and follow-up consumption data were available for 60 three to five year old children. Total mean consumption (g) increased pre-post intervention (pre: 14.75 + 1.38 vs. post: 17.83 + 2.05 g) (p= 0.06). Specifically, mean consumption (g) increased for peas (pre: 1.32 + 0.26 vs. post: 2.03 + 0.36 g) (p=0.04), parsnips (pre: 1.31 + 0.24 vs. post: 2.06 + 0.35 g) (p=0.04), and for the high-sugar content vegetables (pre: 7.41 + 0.82 vs. post: 9.75 +1.14 g) (p=0.02). Mean consumption of the red and white colored vegetables respectively were (pre: 2.66 + 0.41 vs. post: 3.68 + 0.54 g) (p=0.07) and (pre: 2.81 + 0.46 vs. post: 3.93 + 0.61) (p=0.08). Findings suggest that a puppet based nutrition education intervention highlighting the sensory attributes has the potential to increase young children’s consumption of vegetables.

First Advisor

Srimathi Kannan

Share

COinS