Previous Gardening Experience and Gardening Enjoyment Is Related to Vegetable Preferences and Consumption Among Low-Income Elementary School Children

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Objective:To examine if gardening experience and enjoyment are associated with vegetable exposure, preferences, and consumption of vegetables among low-income third-grade children.Design:Cross-sectional study design, using baseline data from the Texas! Grow! Eat! Go! study.Setting:Twenty-eight Title I elementary schools located in different counties in Texas.Participants:Third-grade students (n = 1,326, 42% Hispanic)Main Outcome Measures:Gardening experience, gardening enjoyment, vegetable exposure, preference, and consumption.Analysis:Random-effects regression models, adjusted for age, sex, ethnicity, and body mass index percentile of child, estimated means and standard errors of vegetable consumption, exposure, and preference by levels of gardening experience and enjoyment. Wald χ2 tests evaluated the significance of differences in means of outcomes across levels of gardening experience and enjoyment.Results:Children with more gardening experience had greater vegetable exposure and higher vegetable preference and consumed more vegetables compared with children who reported less gardening experience. Those who reported that they enjoyed gardening had the highest levels of vegetable exposure, preference, and consumption.Conclusions and Implications:Garden-based interventions can have an important and positive effect on children's vegetable consumption by increasing exposure to fun gardening experiences.

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