Korean J Community Nutr.  2010 Jun;15(3):329-341.

Intakes and Beliefs of Vegetables and Fruits, Self-Efficacy, Nutrition Knowledge, Eating Behavior of Elementary School Students in Kyunggi Area

  • 1Food & Nutrition, Seoul Women's University, Seoul, Korea. kwkim@swu.ac.kr
  • 2Guri City Health Center, Guri, Kyunggi, Korea.


The purpose of this study was to examine vegetable & fruit (V/F) intakes, beliefs and self-efficacy regarding V/F consumption, nutrition knowledge and eating behavior of elementary students. A survey was conducted to the 4th graders (n = 234) at two elementary schools in Guri, Kyunggi-do. About one-fourth of subjects were overweight or obese. Subjects had 4.2 servings of V/F a day, consuming 340.2 g of V/F. Girls consumed significantly more amounts of vegetables than boys (p < 0.05). Girls were more favorable regarding V/F consumption (p < 0.01), and believed more strongly on advantages of having V/F such as "good for skin", constipation prevention (p < 0.001) and cancer prevention (p < 0.05). Boys felt more strongly in disadvantages or barriers of eating V/F, including mother's cooking time constraints (p < 0.01), lack of past experience of eating V/F, and family members' disliking of V/F (p < 0.05). Girls felt more confident in eating V/F (p < 0.05) than boys; they also felt more confident in specific items of "eating fruits/salads instead of cookies/chips for snack" and "eating fruit juice/vegetable juice instead of soda" (p < 0.01). Subjects showed low level of nutrition knowledge, especially in items such as balanced meals, recommended servings of V/F and vitamin deficiency. Compared to boys, girls had more desirable eating behavior such as eating adequate amount of meals (p < 0.001), having a variety of foods, eating fruits daily, and having fatty foods less frequently (p < 0.05). Intakes of Ca and K were quite below the recommended level, while the intakes of protein, Na and vitamin A intake were much above the Dietary Reference Intakes (DRI) for 9-11 old children. Nutrient intakes expressed as %DRI was higher in girls for vitamin A (p < 0.01), energy and riboflavin (p < 0.05). High V/F consumption group (> or = 5 servings of V/F a day) compared to the counterparts showed higher self-efficacy and had better eating behaviors. Nutrition education for children should focus on increasing consumption of V/F, by helping them to increase self-efficacy for eating V/F and to recognize the benefits and reduce the barriers of eating V/F, especially in boys. It is also needed to provide nutrition information for balanced meals or increasing V/F consumption, and help the children to adopt desirable eating behavior.


vegetable & fruit consumption; beliefs; self-efficacy; nutrition knowledge; eating behavior; children
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