Impact of a school-based food garden on attitudes towards and identification skills for vegetables and fruit: a 12-month intervention trial
Purpose: To measure changes in knowledge of and attitudes towards vegetables and fruits associated with the introduction of a school-based food garden Methods: A school-based community food garden was installed in a suburban state primary school in a low socioeconomic area of Brisbane, Australia. The ability to identify a series of vegetables and fruits, and determinant factors for vegetable and fruit consumption (family environment, neophobia, peer influence, preferences, nutritional awareness, perception of intake) were measured. This 12-month intervention trial used an historical control design (control n=132, intervention n=120). Data were collected from all students in grades 4 to 7 (ie. ages 8 to 12 years), using class-based, self administered questionnaires requiring one-word answers and 3-point Likert style responses. Frequency distributions for each question were generated and chi-squared analyses were used to determine statistical significance. Exploratory factor analysis was used to detect major trends in data. Results: Subjects showed enhanced ability to identify individual vegetables and fruits (p<0.05), greater attention to origins of produce (garden-grown and fresh) (p<0.001), changes to perceived consumption of vegetables and fruits (p<0.001), and enhanced confidence in preparing fruit and vegetable snacks (p<0.05). However, a decreased interest in trying new fruits was detected post-intervention (p<0.001). Conclusions: The introduction of this school-based food garden was associated with knowledge and attitudinal changes conducive to enhancing vegetable and fruit consumption. The ways in which such changes might impact on dietary behaviors and intake requires further analysis.
Sixth Annual Conference of the International Society of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity (ISBNPA)