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Background: Fruit and vegetable consumption reduces chronic disease risk, yet the majority of Americans consume fewer than recommended. Inadequate access to fruits and vegetables is increasingly recognized as a significant contributor to low consumption of healthy foods. Emerging evidence shows the effectiveness of community gardens in increasing access to, and consumption of, fruits and vegetables.Methods: Two complementary studies explored the association of community garden participation and fruit and vegetable consumption in rural communities in Missouri. The first was with a convenience sample of participants in a rural community garden intervention who completed self-administered surveys. The second was a population-based survey conducted with a random sample of 1,000 residents in the intervention catchment area.Results: Participation in a community garden was associated with higher fruit and vegetable consumption. The first study found that individuals who worked in a community garden at least once a week were more likely to report eating fruits and vegetables because of their community garden work (X2 (125) = 7.78, p = 0088). Population-based survey results show that 5% of rural residents reported participating in a community garden. Those who reported community garden participation were more likely to report eating fruits 2 or more times per day and vegetables 3 or more times per day than those who did not report community garden participation, even after adjusting for covariates (Odds Ratio [OR] = 2.76, 95% Confidence Interval [CI] = 1.35 to 5.65).Conclusion: These complementary studies provide evidence that community gardens are a promising strategy for promoting fruit and vegetable consumption in rural communities. © 2013 Barnidge et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.
Barnidge, E. K., Hipp, P. R., Estlund, A., Duggan, K., Barnhart, K. J., & Brownson, R. C. (2013). Association between community garden participation and fruit and vegetable consumption in rural Missouri. International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity, 10. https://doi.org/10.1186/1479-5868-10-128