A school gardening and healthy snack program increased Aboriginal First Nations children's preferences toward vegetables and fruit.
OBJECTIVE: The researchers evaluated the impact of a 7-month gardening and 4-month vegetable and fruit snack program on Aboriginal First Nations children's home consumption and preferences toward vegetables and fruit. METHODS: The intervention was based on the Social Cognitive Theory. Children in grades 1-6 planted and tended classroom container gardens and prepared and ate what grew. At baseline and 7 months later, children tasted and rated 17 vegetables and fruit using a Likert scale and indicated whether they ate each food at home. RESULTS: Data were collected from 76 of 116 children (65.5%). Preference scores for vegetables, fruit, and vegetables and fruit combined increased over the 7 months (P < .017). Self-reported home consumption did not change. CONCLUSIONS AND IMPLICATIONS: School interventions have the potential to increase children's preferences for vegetables and fruit. Family participation is likely required, along with increased community availability of produce, to promote home consumption.