Which ecological determinants influence Australian children's fruit and vegetable consumption?
School of Medical and Health Sciences
This study investigated determinants of fruit and vegetable (F&V) consumption among regional and remote Western Australian (WA) children, using an Ecological Model of Health Behaviour. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 20 key informants (Health Workers, Food Supply Workers, and School/Youth Workers) purposively sampled from across regional and remote WA. Interviews were transcribed, analysed thematically using QSR-NVivo 10 software, and embedded within an Ecological Model of Health Behaviour to demonstrate the multiple levels of influence on health. Key determinants of F&V consumption at the intrapersonal level included attitude and food literacy among children. Key interpersonal level determinants included role modelling and parental food literacy. Institutional determinants included health service provision, school nutrition education and food skill programs. F&V availability, community networks and health-promoting spaces were key themes affecting families at the community level. The public policy level influencer included implementation of a store policy within local food outlets. Study findings suggested participatory programs with an emphasis on parental involvement and role modelling could increase F&V intake among children living in regional and remote areas; while school curriculum linkages were essential for school-based programs. Policy makers should consider further investment in school food literacy programs and family programs that are delivered collaboratively. Further, support of local food supply options and support for healthy food policies in food outlets are critical next steps. This study contributes new knowledge to build the evidence base and facilitate the development of targeted strategies to increase consumption of F&V among children living in regional and remote areas.