Youth Gardens Increase Healthy Behaviors in Young Children

  • Meinen A
  • Friese B
  • Wright W
 et al. 
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Research supports the role of increased fruit and vegetable consumption to prevent obesity. A major challenge is how to develop and implement interventions to promote children’s fruit and vegetable consumption. The school environment has been identified as a key setting; however, there is limited research linking youth gardens to fruit and vegetable consumption. Through a partnership led by the University of Wisconsin Extension, along with theWisconsin Department of Health Services, a statewide school gardening initiative was developed. The initiative, Got Dirt?, was evaluated at 28 sites across the state to determine the effects of gardens on student health behaviors using pre- and posttest surveys on the predictors of and consumption of fruits and vegetables. Classrooms at each of the sites were randomly assigned to an intervention (garden) or control (no garden). A total of 1796 completed student (N = 801) and parent (N = 995) surveys demonstrated statistically significant changes in (1) trying new fruit (P < .05), (2) choosing fruit instead of chips/candy (P < .01), (3) choosing vegetables instead of chips/candy (P

Author-supplied keywords

  • childcare gardening
  • childhood obesity
  • fruit and vegetable access
  • fruits and vegetables
  • health
  • nutrition
  • school gardening
  • youth gardening

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  • Amy Meinen

  • Bettina Friese

  • William Wright

  • Aaron Carrel

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