Fruit, Vegetable, and Physical Activity Toolbox for Community Educators

California Department of Public Health


The Fruit, Vegetable and Physical Activity Toolbox for Community Educators (Toolbox) is a direct education and social marketing intervention designed to reach African-American women through nutrition education to increase consumption of fruits and vegetables and physical activity (PA) and empower women to overcome barriers to achieving these goals at the personal and community level. The Toolbox Kit and companion Web site were created so that community educators can easily teach low-income adults about eating the recommended amount of fruits and vegetables and enjoying PA every day.

Target Behavior: Healthy Eating, Physical Activity

Intervention Type: Direct Education, Social Marketing

Intervention Reach and Adoption

The Toolbox primarily targets African-American women ages 18-54 with children in community settings (i.e., community-based organizations, direct health service providers, faith-based settings).

Setting: Community, Faith-based community, Health care

Target Audience: Parents/Mothers/Fathers

Race/Ethnicity: African-American, All

Intervention Components

The Toolbox includes two adult recommendation lessons, seven easy-to-implement nutrition lessons, six fun PA lessons, and one community empowerment lesson. Each lesson contains learning objectives, a list of required and optional materials, step-by-step instructions and expansion ideas. These intervention components are designed to increase awareness and knowledge of fruit and vegetable and PA recommendations, build self-confidence and skills so that these recommendations are easy to do, strengthen social support for these behaviors from family, friends, and neighbors and empower adults to advocate for environmental changes that make fruit and vegetable consumption and physical activity opportunities more accessible in their community. The lessons can be easily modified to meet the needs of your participants, while the expansion ideas provide suggestions on how to extend the primary lessons.

Intervention Materials

The Fruit, Vegetable and Physical Activity Toolbox for Community Educators website ( contains:

  • lessons with supporting handouts
  • resources
  • evaluation tools

The Toolbox Kit provides all information available from the website as well as:

  • two educational videos
  • five decks of fruit, vegetable, and PA playing cards
  • a music CD
  • poster
  • produce guide

Intervention Costs

Materials available at no cost.

Evidence Summary

The Fruit, Vegetable and Physical Activity Toolbox for Community Educators utilized a quasi-experimental evaluation design with treatment and control groups and pre- and post-surveys. After six Toolbox lessons conducted over six weeks in a church, a Boys and Girls Club, and two health clinics, there was a significant increase in the percentage of participants who are meeting current nutrition and PA recommendations in those who received the Toolbox lessons as compared to those who did not receive the Toolbox lessons.

  • Daily fruit and vegetable consumption greater than or equal to 3.5 cups/day
    • Intervention: Pre 12.2%; Post 31.4%*
    • Control: Pre 17.5%; Post 21.5%
  • Physically active for at least 5 days/week in the previous week
    • Intervention: Pre 34.0%; Post 59.0%*
    • Control: Pre 36.3%; Post 42.1%
  • Physically active for at least 5 days/week in a usual week
    • Intervention: Pre 37.2%; Post 60.3%*
    • Control: Pre 39.2%; Post 46.2%
  • The proportion who felt they could identify things in their neighborhood that make it difficult to find and eat fruits and vegetables significantly rose to 65.4% from 46.2% in the intervention group.**
  • *p<.05, ** p<.001
  • Abstract: Backman, D, V Scruggs, S Bowie, AA Atiedu, L Bye, A Dennis, M Hall, A Ossa, S Wertlieb, and SB Foerster. 2011a. “Using a Toolbox Educational Lessons to Improve Fruit, Vegetable, and Physical Activity Behaviors among African American Women in California.” Journal of Nutrition, Education and Behavior 43:S75-S85.

Classification: Research-tested

Evaluation Indicators

Based on the SNAP-Ed Evaluation Framework, the following outcome indicators can be used to evaluate intervention progress and success.

Readiness and Capacity – Short Term (ST) Changes – Medium Term (MT) Effectiveness and Maintenance – Long Term (LT) Population Results (R)
Individual ST1, ST3 MT1, MT3 LT1, LT3
Environmental Settings
Sectors of Influence

Evaluation Materials

The Quick Nutrition and Physical Activity Quiz (Quiz) measures participants’ knowledge of fruit and vegetable and PA recommendations and their related health benefits. The Quiz can be administered before and after conducting a lesson to measure improvements in participants’ knowledge: Quick Nutrition and Physical Activity Quiz

Additional Information

Website: The Fruit, Vegetable and Physical Activity Toolbox for Community Educators website ( includes lessons, handouts, a how to use your tool box guide, an evaluation quiz, and downloads to the complete Toolkit.

Contact Person(s):
California Department of Public Health, Nutrition Education and Obesity Prevention Branch
Phone: (916) 449-5400