Date of Award

Summer 7-18-2017

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



First Advisor

Huanbiao Mo

Second Advisor

Cindy Culver

Third Advisor

Adrienne Holloway

Fourth Advisor

Xiaoyi Min


Background: The HHFKA authorizes funding and establishes policy for USDA’s child nutrition programs including the NSLP and the SBP to align with the DGA. It is inconclusive whether these dietary requirements increase healthy food selection let alone increase consumption because data is difficult to track, and plate waste studies are time consuming and labor intensive. Several studies have shown an association between advertising methods and increased fruit selection. However, research examining the degrees of impact these advertising methods have on student selection and consumption is lacking.

Purpose: The purpose of this study was to investigate whether different methods of advertising in school cafeterias have different effects on influencing children’s food choices. The researchers predicted branding would have the greatest effect on fresh fruit selection and consumption. Fresh fruit selection and consumption were observed in a sixth-grade student population during school lunch with majority of students participating in the free and reduced lunch program.

Methods: An average of 412 student selection observations and 200 student consumption observations were collected over six days testing three advertising methods with a control group for each treatment. The three treatment groups consisted of branding, digital advertising, and variety.

Results: This study found that digital advertising and variety had a significant effect on students’ fruit selection during school lunch by 8.5% and 17.6%, respectively. Digital advertising and branding had a significant decrease on student consumption, but variety increased consumption by 0.9%.

Conclusion: In conclusion, advertising methods can increase the selection of fresh fruit, but additional strategies such as nutrition education, garden-based learning, and taste tests should be implemented to increase fresh fruit consumption.