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Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Community-based interventions for enhancing access to or consumption of fruit and vegetables among five to 18-year olds: a scoping review

Rebecca Ganann*, Donna Fitzpatrick-Lewis, Donna Ciliska and Leslea Peirson

Author Affiliations

Effective Public Health Practice Project, McMaster University, Hamilton, ON, Canada

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BMC Public Health 2012, 12:711  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-12-711

Published: 30 August 2012

Abstract

Background

Low fruit and vegetable ( FV) consumption is a key risk factor for morbidity and mortality. Consumption of FV is limited by a lack of access to FV. Enhanced understanding of interventions and their impact on both access to and consumption of FV can provide guidance to public health decision-makers. The purpose of this scoping review is to identify and map literature that has evaluated effects of community-based interventions designed to increase FV access or consumption among five to 18-year olds.

Methods

The search included 21 electronic bibliographic databases, grey literature, targeted organization websites, and 15 key journals for relevant studies published up to May 2011. Retrieved citations were screened in duplicate for relevance. Data extracted from included studies covered: year, country, study design, target audience, intervention setting, intervention strategies, interventionists, and reported outcomes.

Results

The search located 19,607 unique citations. Full text relevance screening was conducted on 1,908 studies. The final 289 unique studies included 30 knowledge syntheses, 27 randomized controlled trials, 55 quasi-experimental studies, 113 cluster controlled studies, 60 before-after studies, one mixed method study, and three controlled time series studies. Of these studies, 46 included access outcomes and 278 included consumption outcomes. In terms of target population, 110 studies focused on five to seven year olds, 175 targeted eight to 10 year olds, 192 targeted 11 to 14 year olds, 73 targeted 15 to 18 year olds, 55 targeted parents, and 30 targeted teachers, other service providers, or the general public. The most common intervention locations included schools, communities or community centres, and homes. Most studies implemented multi-faceted intervention strategies to increase FV access or consumption.

Conclusions

While consumption measures were commonly reported, this review identified a small yet important subset of literature examining access to FV. This is a critically important issue since consumption is contingent upon access. Future research should examine the impact of interventions on direct outcome measures of FV access and a focused systematic review that examines these interventions is also needed. In addition, research on interventions in low- and middle-income countries is warranted based on a limited existing knowledge base.