Garden-based nutrition education affects fruit and vegetable consumption in sixth-grade adolescents.

Schoolyard gardens are emerging as a nutrition education tool in academic settings. The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of garden-based nutrition education on adolescents’ fruit and vegetable consumption using a nonequivalent control group design. Sixth-grade students (n=99) at three different elementary schools made up a control and two treatment groups. Students in the treatment groups participated in a 12-week nutrition education program, and one treatment group also participated in garden-based activities. Students in all three groups completed three 24-hour food-recall workbooks before and after the intervention. A repeated-measures analysis of variance showed that adolescents who participated in the garden-based nutrition intervention increased their servings of fruits and vegetables more than students in the two other groups. Significant increases were also found in vitamin A,┬ávitamin C, and fiber intake. Although further research is needed, the results of this study seem to indicate the efficacy of using garden-based nutrition education to increase adolescents’ consumption of fruits and vegetables.

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