How To Get Children To Eat More Fruit and Vegetables
Evidence showing the benefits of fruit and vegetable consumption is substantial.
Despite this knowledge being widespread many adults and children alike do not eat the recommended amounts.
As childhood learnt behaviours often carry on into adulthood, childhood is an important time to ensure a healthy amount of fruit and vegetables is being consumed, and a healthy habit is formed.
So recently researchers from Coventry University examined if a school-level intervention may help create these healthy eating habits.
“a major challenge is the development and implementation of interventions that facilitate children’s fruit and vegetable consumption and to help establish healthy eating behaviour in order to ensure children’s current and future health”
The researchers initiated a 12-week gardening programme which combined children actively growing there own fruit and vegetables as well as a programme of education highlighting the health benefits of eating fruit and vegetables.
“Children then undertook twice weekly gardening sessions lasting approximately 30 minutes per session for the remaining 11 weeks of the intervention.”
After the 12-week period the researchers compared the children’s fruit and vegetable intake with what they had been previously to the gardening intervention.
“The results of this study suggest that a school gardening intervention is effective in increasing daily fruit and vegetable consumption“
As well as increasing the daily fruit and vegetable consumption on further analysis the study also revealed that children who took part in the gardening programme had better intentions, attitudes and norms towards fruit and vegetable consumption.
While this research had some limitations it indicates that getting children involved in the process of growing fruit and vegetables for themselves is likely to increase their interest in consuming more fruit and veg.