INTRODUCTION: Most children underconsume fruit and vegetables. This study estimated the frequency and quality of fruit and vegetables offered during snack in US afterschool programs and examined program-level factors associated with offering them, including awareness and use of the National AfterSchool Association Healthy Eating and Physical Activity standards.
METHODS: We conducted descriptive analyses and regression modeling by using data collected from 684 National AfterSchool Association members and their colleagues via a 2015 online survey.
RESULTS: At the previous snack, 63% of respondents offered fruit, a vegetable, or both, with 42% offering only fruit, 18% offering fruit and vegetables, and 3% offering only vegetables. The quality of the items offered showed that most respondents selected the healthiest options, such as fresh fruit and vegetables. Controlling for other factors, we found that factors independently associated with offering fruit, vegetables, or both were membership in the National AfterSchool Association, using the standards for menu planning, and training staff members in healthy eating more than once a year. Programs run by school districts were less likely to offer fruit than programs run by other organizations.
CONCLUSION: Membership in the National AfterSchool Association and use of its Healthy Eating and Physical Activity standards are associated with offering fruit and vegetables during snack at afterschool programs staffed by National AfterSchool Association members and their colleagues across the United States. With over a third of sites surveyed offering neither a fruit nor a vegetable at the previous snack, additional implementation of the standards is still needed.