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