Background Epidemiological evidence suggests that populations with high fruit and vegetable (FV) consumption have a lower risk for childhood obesity, cancer and cardiovascular diseases. There are no studies that address the correlates of FV intake in Mexican children; therefore, the aim of this study was to identify the frequency of FV consumption by children in Mexico City’s low income state schools and their personal (preferences, expectancy, knowledge and self-efficacy) and environmental (accessibility and person in charge of cooking at home) correlates.
Methods A validated questionnaire to assess accessibility, expectancy, self-efficacy, preference and knowledge; and a 2-day dietary recall were used to assess the FV intake and its correlates in 327 children. Statistical analysis included chi-square and stepwise logistic regression.
Results Average consumption of FV was once a day with a higher proportion of girls consuming FV 3 or more times per day (15.2% versus 6.7%; P < 0.01). The environmental factors that influenced a higher consumption of FV were the mother being responsible for cooking at home (P < 0.02) and accessibility to FV (P < 0.01); whereas the personal factors were self-efficacy (P < 0.05) and preference (P < 0.03) to vegetables.
Conclusion Correlates of fruit and vegetable consumption in children from Mexico City’s State Schools were being female and accessibility to fruits and vegetables. Home and school environments are decisive for the children to increase FV consumption. Creative ways to encourage FV consumption in boys should be explored. These factors should be considered when designing programmes aimed at increasing consumption of fruits and vegetables in children.