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Medicine and Health Sciences


Context: Prior studies have identified significant health benefits and socioeconomic barriers to fruit and vegetable consumption. Objective: This study describes characteristics and physiological outcomes relative to the fruit and vegetable consumption of adolescents. Design: A new analysis of the Project Healthy Schools Registry containing data from questionnaire responses, medical screenings, and blood tests was performed. Setting: Data from students in 67 middle-schools in Michigan from who were enrolled in Project Healthy Schools and completed an optional health behavior questionnaire and physiological screening were analyzed (n=2813). Methods: Students were divided into two groups based on the number of servings of fruits and/or vegetables they consumed the previous day: “high consumers,” ≥ 3 servings or “low consumers,” < 3 servings. Demographics and physiological measures were compared between groups using one-way ANOVA tests. Results: 1457 (51.8%) students were high consumers. High consumers were less likely to be Black (23.8% v. 31.6%, p<0.001) and more likely to be Asian (9.1% v. 4.7%, p<0.001) than low consumers. High consumers were also more likely to be from high SES school districts (45.2% v. 33.0%, p<0.001) and less likely to be from middle (25.0% v. 30.2%, p=0.002) or low (29.8% v. 36.7%, p<0.001) SES school districts than low consumers. High consumers had higher triglyceride levels (91.0 v. 82.5 mg/dL, p<0.001) and lower recovery heart rate (105 v. 108 bpm, p=0.019) than low consumers. Conclusions: Demographic and socioeconomic factors were associated with variations in fruit and vegetable consumption in this adolescent population. High fruit and vegetable consumers had lower recovery heart rates, which may indicate better health and fitness.


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