Relationship between socioeconomic status and fruit and vegetable intake among Washington State middle school students
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PURPOSE: To determine the associations between individual-level measures of socioeconomic status (SES) of middle school students and their rates of fruit and vegetable (FV) consumption within the school environment and away from the school environment. METHODS: Student FV consumption at school and away from school was assessed by a self-administered Beverage and Snack Questionnaire in 64 middle schools in Washington State. For both at school and away from school environments, consumption data was categorized into "yes FV" and "no FV" groups. Self-reported eligibility for free and reduced price lunch was used as a proxy for low SES. χ² testing was used to analyze the relationship between markers of SES and FV consumption. Logistic regression analysis was used to further investigate the association between SES markers and FV consumption at school and away from school by controlling for school-level differences, sex, and race dichotomized as white and non-white. RESULTS: Data from 6646 seventh graders were used in analysis of FV consumption at school and data from 7066 seventh graders were used in analysis of FV consumption away from school. χ² analysis indicated that FV consumption while at school is positively related to markers of low SES (χ² value = 14.76, df =1, p< .001) but is negatively related to markers of low SES away from school (χ² value = 17.46, df =1, p< .001). Logistic regression analysis showed that students with markers of low SES had 1.35 greater odds of FV consumption at school (95% CI: 1.18 to 1.55; p<0.001) than those without markers of low SES. Away from school, students with markers of low SES had lower odds of FV consumption at 0.65 (95% CI: 0.48 to 0.89; p=0.006) compared to students without low SES markers. CONCLUSIONS: Among WA State middle school students, individual-level markers of low SES are associated with a greater likelihood of FV consumption at school but also with a lower likelihood of FV consumption away from school. Interventions that would allow for greater opportunities for FV consumption in schools may help improve the diets of adolescents.
- Epidemiology