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The impact of nutrition education with and without a school garden on knowledge, vegetable intake and preferences and quality of school life among primary-school students

  • Philip J Morgan (a1), Janet M Warren (a2), David R Lubans (a1), Kristen L Saunders (a1), Garbrielle I Quick (a1) and Clare E Collins (a3)...
Abstract
AbstractObjective

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.

Design

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.

Setting

Two primary schools in the Hunter Region, New South Wales, Australia.

Subjects

A total of 127 students in Grades 5 and 6 (11–12 years old; 54 % boys).

Results

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).

Conclusions

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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Corresponding author
*Corresponding author: Email Philip.Morgan@newcastle.edu.au
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