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Revista Costarricense de Salud Pública

Print version ISSN 1409-1429


URENA VARGAS, Marisol. Reasons for Fruit and Vegetable Consumption in Costa Rican Students of an Urban Zone. Rev. costarric. salud pública [online]. 2009, vol.18, n.1, pp.15-21. ISSN 1409-1429.

Objective: To determine the reasons for consumption and non-consumption of fruits and vegetables in school students of an urban zone. Methods: The present study is descriptive, cross-sectional and qualitative in nature. During 2004, seventy two schoolchildren between ten and twelve years of age, coming from the fifth and sixth grades of three schools in the municipalities of Montes de Oca and Curridabat, province of San José, participated in the study. The purpose of the work was to determine the reasons for fruit and vegetable intake. Six focal groups were organized, three with girls and three with boys. The information was classified on the basis of content and matrices analysis, in which the most common opinions given by the children were considered, in addition to the concepts derived from dimensions established in the literature, and expert opinion on education and nutrition. Results: The schoolchildren mentioned that the main reasons for consumption of both food groups are their physical characteristics. For vegetables, the physical characteristics were also a motive of rejection. Other reasons for non-consumption are reduced availability at home, restaurants and school cafeterias, inadequate family nutritional habits, ignorance of the importance of intake of these foods, and a reduced buying ability. The schoolchildren acknowledge that fruits and vegetables are foods that contribute to good health, because in general they provide vitamins and minerals. However, they do not eat them on a daily basis because they prefer "junk foods". Discussion: Fruit and vegetable consumption is associated with several intrinsic and external factors that can increase or limit their intake.

Keywords : Fruit; Vegetables; Student; Urban Population; Costa Rica.

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