Nutr Res Pract.  2021 Apr;15(2):235-247. 10.4162/nrp.2021.15.2.235.

Evaluation of the effect of a school garden as an educational didactic tool in vegetable and fruit consumption in teenagers

Affiliations
  • 1Facultad de Ciencias Naturales, Campus Juriquilla, Universidad Autónoma de Querétaro, Querétaro, Qro. CP 76230, México
  • 2Centro de Innovación de Agricultura Sostenible en Pequeña Escala, A.C. CIASPE, Querétaro, Qro. CP 76246, México

Abstract

BACKGROUND/OBJECTIVES
Increasing the consumption of vegetables and fruits in Mexico remains a challenge. Promoting sustainable food production systems through schools may be an effective way to educate young people about food and nutrition issues. A study of nutritional education in adolescents, based on the school garden, is necessary in order to evaluate its effects on the consumption of fruits and vegetables among middle- and upperincome segments of the population. The objective of this study was to evaluate the effect of an educational intervention, accompanied by a school garden as an educational teaching tool, to improve vegetable and fruit consumption by Mexican teenagers attending a private middle/high school.
SUBJECTS/METHODS
Teenagers between 12 and 18 years of age (n = 126) attending a private middle/high school in Queretaro, Mexico participated in a 3-arm, controlled, comparative impact study using a vegetable and fruit consumption frequency questionnaire, food consumption diaries, a psychosocial factor assessment questionnaire of vegetable and fruit consumption, and structured interviews. The participants were randomized into 3 experimental groups: 1) food education + school garden (FE + SG), 2) FE only, and 3) control group (CG).
RESULTS
The FE + SG and FE groups significantly increased the frequency and daily intake of vegetables and fruits compared to the CG. The FE + SG group showed greater understanding of, reflection upon, and analysis of the information they received about vegetable and fruit consumption, as well as a greater willingness to include these in their daily diet.
CONCLUSIONS
FE accompanied by a SG as a teaching tool is more effective at promoting vegetable and fruit consumption than either education alone or control in teenagers in middle-upper income segments of the population.

Keyword

Vegetables; fruit; teenagers; gardening; health education
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