Date of Conferral
Doctor of Public Health (DrPH)
Lack of fruit and vegetable (FV) consumption is directly linked to the prevalence of obesity and chronic disease in the United States. The USDA Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program (FFVP) offers elementary school teachers access to healthy foods as part of the public school classroom experience. The purpose of this study---which was based on self-efficacy theory and the socio-ecological model---was to examine if an association exists between selected factors: (a) daily fruit and vegetable consumption, training status in the USDA Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program (FFVP), and an established school nutrition policy and (b) nutrition-teaching self-efficacy (NTSE) among elementary school teachers who participated in the FFVP. Using an online survey, 66 teachers out of 114 (58% response rate) completed a 26-question survey adapted from the Nutrition-Teaching Self-Efficacy Scale and the National Cancer Institute's Food Attitude and Behavior Survey. Based on the results of the chi-square test of association (p = 0.031), an association between daily FV intake and NTSE among teachers involved in the USDA FFVP was confirmed. The odds of having high NTSE are 3.45 higher in those who consume more than 3 cups of combined FV each day (p = 0.029). There were no significant associations between NTSE and FFVP training and established school nutrition policy. The social change implication of this study is that healthier, confident teachers build healthier school environments and create the impetus for increasing FV consumption in the community at large, thereby helping to reduce the risk of obesity and chronic diseases.