The impact of home garden kits with a summer garden enhanced nutrition education (gene) program on vegetable preference, intake, and home availability of children
The primary purpose of this garden-focused study was to examine the impact of home garden kit carry-over from two after-school settings into homes of elementary children on children’s vegetable preference and intake. Vegetable intake was measured using questionnaires and carotenoid scores. A secondary goal of this study was to explore the impact of the home garden kits on parental views of vegetable intake, their psychosocial variables related to healthy eating, and vegetable home availability. Sixteen children completed this study along with their parents. Nonparametric tests assessed changes in the outcome before and after the Garden Enhance Nutrition Education (GENE) Program with and without the home garden kits. Results showed that post study, vegetable preference in the garden home kit group increased significantly (p=0.02) when compared to the GENE education only group post study. Vegetable intake, as shown by increase in carotenoid scores (p=0.02), was significantly increased in the garden home kit group when compared pre-to post- study. Thus, continuous research is needed and should focus on exploring more on how to influence and develop healthy home eating habits through a school established garden program.