The Effects of the Healthy Primary School of the Future on Children's Fruit and Vegetable Preferences, Familiarity and Intake

M.T.H. Hahnraths*, M. Willeboordse, P. van Assema, B. Winkens, C.P. van Schayck

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Mere exposure is an often-described strategy to increase children's food familiarity, preferences, and intake. Research investigating this method in less controlled settings is scarce. This study investigates the effects of repeated fruit and vegetable (FV) exposure through the Healthy Primary School of the Future (HPSF) on children's FV familiarity, preferences, and intake. The study had a longitudinal quasi-experimental design comparing two full HPSFs (focus: nutrition and physical activity) with two partial HPSFs (focus: physical activity) in the Netherlands. Annual measurements (child-reported questionnaires) were conducted during 2015-2019 in 833 7-12-year-old children. The study was registered on (NCT02800616). After correction for baseline, full HPSFs had, on average, a lower number of unfamiliar vegetable items after one (effect size (ES) = -0.28) and three years (ES = -0.35) and a higher number of disliked vegetable items after one year (ES = 0.24) than partial HPSFs. Unfavorable intervention effects were observed for fruit intake after one (odds ratio (OR) = 0.609) and four years (OR = 0.451). Repeated FV exposure had limited effects on children's FV familiarity, preferences, and intake, likely due to insufficient taste exposure. Considering the widespread implementation of school-based mere exposure efforts, it is highly relevant to further investigate under which circumstances mere exposure effectively contributes to improvements in (determinants of) FV intake.
Original languageEnglish
Article number3241
Number of pages17
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2021


  • primary school
  • health promoting school
  • nutrition
  • eating habits
  • repeated exposure
  • taste preferences
  • familiarity
  • FOOD

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