Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Science


Food Science and Human Nutrition

First Advisor

Ruth E. Litchfield


Background: Overweight adolescents are more likely to be overweight or obese in adulthood and are subsequently at greater risk for chronic diseases. The development and complications of overweight and obesity as well as some chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer, stroke, hypertension, and diabetes may be lessened by consumption of a healthier diet, specifically increasing fruit and vegetable (FV) consumption. Less than 10% of the United States population meets FV recommendations, with the lowest levels of consumption among adolescents. Interventions are needed to address and improve FV consumption.

Methods: The Immersion in Wellness project was funded by the Wellmark Foundation and was conducted at the Iowa 4-H Center near Madrid, Iowa during the summer of 2012 and 2013. The project goal was to immerse campers in a five day intervention focusing on nutrition, culinary and gardening topics to improve health behaviors and construct a healthy lifestyle. Intervention campers received gardening, culinary, and nutrition education over the five-day immersion experience and were provided a take-home kit in an effort to influence the home environment after leaving camp. Control campers received the traditional camp experience; no educational lessons or take home kit were provided.

Results: At six-month post-camp the intervention campers did not score significantly higher in FV self-efficacy, nutrition knowledge, or FV preferences compared to the control group. However, the intervention group did experience a greater increase in their most preferred home food environment (p<0.05) and garden vegetable intake (p<0.10). There was no statistical difference between genders in the likelihood of meeting age specific FV recommendations, however age did influence whether specific FV recommendations were met.

Conclusions: Overall, FV consumption was low and Iowa youth are likely not meeting daily potassium, dietary fiber, and calcium requirements. As for future research, the home food environment may influence FV self-efficacy, nutrition knowledge, FV preferences as well as FV intakes. Interventions should target improving FV preferences and FV self-efficacy to positively influence FV intake.

Copyright Owner

Elizabeth Anne Mabary



File Format


File Size

143 pages