To investigate the impact of school garden-enhanced nutrition education (NE) on children’s fruit and vegetable consumption, vegetable preferences, fruit and vegetable knowledge and quality of school life.
Quasi-experimental 10-week intervention with nutrition education and garden (NE&G), NE only and control groups. Fruit and vegetable knowledge, vegetable preferences (willingness to taste and taste ratings), fruit and vegetable consumption (24 h recall × 2) and quality of school life (QoSL) were measured at baseline and 4-month follow-up.
Two primary schools in the Hunter Region, New South Wales, Australia.
A total of 127 students in Grades 5 and 6 (11–12 years old; 54 % boys).
Relative to controls, significant between-group differences were found for NE&G and NE students for overall willingness to taste vegetables (P < 0·001) and overall taste ratings of vegetables (P < 0·001). A treatment effect was found for the NE&G group for: ability to identify vegetables (P < 0·001); willingness to taste capsicum (P = 0·04), broccoli (P = 0·01), tomato (P < 0·001) and pea (P = 0·02); and student preference to eat broccoli (P < 0·001) and pea (P < 0·001) as a snack. No group-by-time differences were found for vegetable intake (P = 0·22), fruit intake (P = 0·23) or QoSL (P = 0·98).
School gardens can impact positively on primary-school students’ willingness to taste vegetables and their vegetable taste ratings, but given the complexity of dietary behaviour change, more comprehensive strategies are required to increase vegetable intake.
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