Curriculum redesign and impact of an after-school garden enhanced nutrition education (GENE) program on skin carotenoids, vegetable preferences and vegetable intake of children

August 2023
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The purpose of this study was to streamline and condense the gardening enhanced nutrition education (GENE) program curriculum content used in an after-school program at the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Houston locations. Participants were given questionnaires to complete and were taught a streamlined gardening curriculum based on Texas A&M AgriLife’s gardening program content, “Learn, Grow, Eat, Go!” (LGEG) once a week for 10 weeks. Additionally, participants taste-tested various store-bought vegetables and planted and harvested fruits and vegetables at their respective club garden locations. During Week 1 and 10, sample participants’ skin carotenoid scores, plant and nutrition knowledge, and vegetable intake were collected and compared between the treatment group and control using paired sample t-tests. Results revealed no significant changes of carotenoid scores and vegetable intake (p = 0.66) and plant/nutrition knowledge (p = 0.40) in the treatment group after the 10-weeks GENE program. Future research is necessary to further determine the effectiveness of gardening-enhanced nutrition interventions in after-school settings.

Boys and Girls Club of Greater Houston club members