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ERIC Number: EJ1049131
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2015-Feb
Pages: 18
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-1476-718X
Feasibility and Acceptability of a Gardening-Based Nutrition Education Program in Preschoolers from Low-Income, Minority Populations
Sharma, Shreela V.; Hedberg, Ann Marie; Skala, Katherine A.; Chuang, Ru-Jye; Lewis, Tamara
Journal of Early Childhood Research, v13 n1 p93-110 Feb 2015
Garden-based lessons are gaining popularity as a means of increasing fruit and vegetable intake among children. The study objective was to pilot test a garden-based preschool curriculum for feasibility and acceptability in Harris County Department of Education Head Start using qualitative and quantitative methods. A total of 103, 3- to 5-year-old children at two Head Start centers in Harris County, Texas participated. PLANT Gardens (Preschoolers Learn About Nutrition Through Gardens), a theoretically grounded, teacher-led, garden-based nutrition education program for preschoolers was implemented over 8 weeks in spring 2008. Heights and weights were measured on participating children. Data regarding program feasibility and acceptability were obtained through post-intervention focus groups with teachers and parents, weekly lesson plan evaluation forms completed by project staff, and post intervention teacher surveys. Pre-post self-reported parent surveys were used to evaluate the effects of the program on their preschooler's fruit and vegetable preferences and willingness. The results showed that, overall, 28.4 percent of the Head Start preschooler's population were overweight or obese, yet only 3 percent of parents perceived their preschooler as overweight. This pilot test revealed strong acceptability and feasibility of the PLANT Gardens program in this Head Start population. Results of the parent surveys (n= 25) indicated a significant increase in their preschooler's willingness to try new fruits and vegetables (67% at baseline vs 84% post-intervention; p = 0.026). Data were used to further refine the program components. In conclusion, the PLANT Gardens program showed good initial feasibility and acceptability and is a promising program to increase preference and intake of fruits and vegetables in a preschool population. Further evaluation of behavioral outcomes using a larger sample size and a prospective design is needed.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Preschool Education; Early Childhood Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: National Cancer Institute (NCI) (NIH)
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Texas
Grant or Contract Numbers: 2 R25 CA57712