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Spurring Kids to Eat Healthier: Assessing the Impact of FFVP


Highlights

  • Is FFVP successful in getting kids to adopt healthy eating habits?
  • Abt compared students at participating and non-participating-but eligible schools
  • Abt's findings are critical to USDA's understanding of the program’s impact.


 

The Challenge

USDA’s Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program (FFVPgirl eating salad) introduces elementary school children to a variety of produce that they might otherwise not have a chance to sample.  In addition to distributing free fruits and vegetables to these students – most of whom are from low-income households—FFVP teaches them wholesome eating practices.  Whether FFVP is successful in getting kids to adopt healthy eating habits is central to the evaluation that Abt Associates conducted for USDA. 

The Approach

Abt used a regression discontinuity design to compare students from schools just above states’ funding cut-offs to students in schools that, while eligible for the program, were not participating due to funding limitations. The three-year congressionally-mandated study included more than 700 schools in 16 states. 

The Results

Findings from the FFVP study are critical to USDA's comprehensive understanding of the program’s impact on children’s consumption of, and attitudes towards, fresh fruits and vegetables and other foods, their nutritional status, as well as the effect of FFVP on the school environment.  This understanding makes it possible for the agency to execute evidence-based decisions regarding the program. Learn more: