Recent research has demonstrated the health benefits of eating a diet rich in fruit and vegetables. In Northern European countries, the consumption of fruit and vegetables tend to be below current recommendations. In several Southern European countries, there is a concern that both the amount and variation in fruit and vegetables eaten may be on decline. Thus, the main objective of this project is to develop effective strategies to promote adequate consumption levels of fruit and vegetables. Young adolescents (11 to 13 years) and their parents are the main target groups of this project.


Specific objectives include:

Assessing vegetable and fruit consumption and determinants of consumption levels (phase 1)

  • To develop valid and reliable instruments for assessing fruits
    and vegetables consumption among school children and their parents, and for identifying factors influencing consumption patterns both among school children and their parents.
  • To describe
    1. the consumption levels of fruits and vegetables among schoolchildren and their parents,
    2. factors influencing such consumption levels, and
    3. cross-national differences in consumption patterns and determinants.

Design, implementation, and evaluation of an intervention programme (phase 2)

  • To design, implement and evaluate the effect of culturally
    relevant intervention programmes in different Euorpean settings. The objective is to produce a 20% increase in the
    consumption of fruits and vegetables among participating
    children and parents.

The Pro Children project consists of eight major work packages, aimed at:

  • Designing a valid and reliable instrument for assessing
    intake of fruit and vegetables in European schoolchildren
    and their parents.
  • Identifying determinants of young adolescents’ fruit and vegetable intake.
  • Developing a theory-based instrument to assess the psychosocial determinants of this intake.
  • Conducting cross-sectional survey across all nine European partner countries.
  • Designing cuturally relevant and theoretically similar intervention strategies to be tested in the Netherlands, Norway and Spain.
  • Investigating the process of implementation across the three intervention sites.
  • Investigating the outcome and its sustainabililty, i.e. change in reported fruit and vegetable intake, change in psychosocial determinants, and change in school and community policy and availability issues concerning fruit and vegetables.
  • Designing a joint database and secure high-quality and comparable data across countries.
  • Interpreting collected and pooled data, report and disseminate results to the scientific community, professional organisations, policy makers and to the general public.