Impact of a school-based food garden on attitudes and identification skills regarding vegetables and fruit

A 12-month intervention trial

Shawn Somerset, Katherine Markwell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

67 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Objective. To determine changes in ability to identify specific vegetables and fruits, and attitudes towards vegetables and fruit, associated with the introduction of a school-based food garden. Design. A 12-month intervention trial using a historical control (control n 132, intervention n 120), class-based, self-administered questionnaires requiring one-word answers and 3-point Likert scale responses. Setting. A state primary school (grades 4 to 7) in a low socio-economic area of Brisbane, Australia. Intervention. The introduction of a school-based food garden, including the funding of a teacher coordinator for 11 h/week to facilitate integration of garden activities into the curriculum. Main outcome measures. Ability to identify a series of vegetables and fruits, attitudes towards vegetables and fruit. Analysis. Frequency distributions for each item were generated and χ2 analyses were used to determine statistical significance. Exploratory factor analysis was employed to detect major trends in data. Results. The intervention led to enhanced ability to identify individual vegetables and fruits, greater attention to origins of produce (garden-grown and fresh), changes to perceived consumption of vegetables and fruits, and enhanced confidence in preparing fruit and vegetable snacks, but decreased interest in trying new fruits. Conclusions. The introduction of this school-based food garden was associated with skill and attitudinal changes conducive to enhancing vegetable and fruit consumption. The ways in which such changes might impact on dietary behaviours and intake require further analysis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)214-221
Number of pages8
JournalPublic Health Nutrition
Volume12
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2009
Externally publishedYes

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