Vegetable behavioral tool demonstrates validity with MyPlate vegetable cups and carotenoid and inflammatory biomarkers

Marilyn S. Townsend, Mical K. Shilts, Dennis M Styne, Christiana Drake, Louise Lanoue, Leslie Woodhouse, Lindsay H. Allen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Young children are not meeting recommendations for vegetable intake. Our objective is to provide evidence of validity and reliability for a pictorial vegetable behavioral assessment for use by federally funded community nutrition programs. Parent/child pairs (n=133) from Head Start and the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children [WIC] provided parent-administered vegetable tools, three child 24-hour diet recalls, child blood sample and measured heights/weights. The 10-item Focus on Veggies scale, with an alpha of 0.83 and a stability reliability coefficient of 0.74, was positively related to vegetables in cup equivalents [p≤.05]; dietary intakes of folate, vitamin C, β-carotene, potassium and magnesium [p≤.05-.01]; and soluble fiber [p≤.001]. The child vegetable scores were related to the parent's mediators [p≤.00001] and vegetable behaviors [p≤.00001]. Children's plasma inflammatory markers were negatively related to the 10 item scale [p≤.05] and are indicators of the child's health status. The positive relationship between the serum carotenoid index and a sub-scale of child vegetable behaviors offered additional support for criterion validity [p≤.05]. Finally, the inverse relationship of BMI-for-age percentile one year post baseline and a sub-scale of child vegetable behaviors supported the predictive validity [p≤.05]. Focus on Veggies, a simple assessment tool, can inform practitioners about the child's health status. A child with a high score, shows a healthful profile with a lower inflammation index, higher carotenoid index, lower BMI and higher vegetable intake. In conclusion, validity of Focus on Veggies has been demonstrated using vegetable cup equivalents and micronutrient intakes, anthropometry and blood biomarkers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)628-638
Number of pages11
StatePublished - Dec 1 2016


  • Assessment tool
  • Evaluation
  • Preschool
  • Validation
  • Vegetables
  • Young children

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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