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  • Author or Editor: Geralyn Nolan* x
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Child obesity has become a national concern. Obesity in children ages 6-17 has more than doubled in the past 30 years. Only twenty percent of children today consume the recommended daily servings of fruits and vegetables. This trend is even more pronounced in minority populations. Past studies have reported that horticulture based curriculum, including gardening, can improve children's attitudes toward eating fruits and vegetables. To investigate whether children of a minority population can benefit from gardening supplemented with nutritional curriculum, research was conducted with elementary schools in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas. Elementary school teachers participating in this research agreed to have school gardens and complete all activities in a nutritional curriculum provided to them through the Texas Extension Service. Children in the participating schools completed a pre- and post-test evaluating their attitudes and snack preferences toward fruits and vegetables and their knowledge before and after gardening supplemented with nutritional information. Statistically significant differences were detected between pre- and post-test scores for all three variables. After comparing pre-and post-test scores, it was concluded that gardening with supplemental instruction, had a positive effect on all three variables including students attitudes and snack preferences toward fruits and vegetables and their nutritional knowledge.

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Child obesity has become a national concern. Obesity in children ages 6–17 years has more than doubled in the past 30 years. Only 20% of children today consume the recommended daily servings of fruit and vegetables. This trend is even more pronounced in minority populations. Past studies have reported a horticulture-based curriculum, including gardening, can improve children’s attitudes toward eating fruit and vegetables. To investigate whether children of a minority population can benefit from gardening combined with a curriculum on nutrition, research was conducted with elementary schools in a primarily Hispanic region of Texas. Elementary school teachers participating in this research agreed to have school gardens and complete all activities in a curriculum on nutrition provided to them through the Texas Agrilife Extension Service. One hundred and forty-one children in the participating schools completed a pre- and posttest evaluating their nutritional knowledge, preference for fruit and vegetables, and snack choices before and after a gardening program supplemented with nutrition education. Differences were detected between pre- and posttest scores for all three variables. After comparing pre- and posttest scores, it was concluded that gardening and nutritional instruction had a positive effect on students’ nutritional knowledge, fruit and vegetable preference (FVP), and snack choices.

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