All parents know the struggle to get their children to eat veggies which most of them hate and refuse to eat. But children who are a part of school garden learning often end up developing an interest in vegetables, which makes them eat more vegetables than other children who don’t participate in gardening.
The research group from The University of Texas at Austin has found that school gardens can build interest in young children about healthy diet and encourage them to eat more veggies as they eat before. This team worked along with 16 elementary schools located in Central Texas which have installed their vegetable gardens and encourage their students to learn about nutrition, diet, and cooking.
The complete findings of this study are published in a journal named the International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity.
Their main focus was on the schools which have a high number of students who are availing free lunch option or low-price lunch option to understand if nutritional programs carry a value for the low-income households. all these schools were analyzed for a period of one year.
The results found that students who were a part of school gardening, cooking and food guide classes choose to ate nearly half serving more than their regular daily serving of vegetables.
Although most of the children were from families experiencing food insecurities. But educating the young minds about how to grow the food, what is inside every food ingredient and how to cook the food helps to change the eating behavior, especially after a long-term.
The research team kept a record of everything such as what did these children eat and compared it with their body weight, BMI, sugar level, blood pressure, and other parameters. The duration to collect this information was nine months and during this time, they didn’t find any major changes in terms of health. This data was obtained from nearly 3000 students who were studying in class three to class five.
Some people may argue that half a serving per day is not a considerable change but even this change is significant because it may solve one of the biggest problems in the US that is childhood obesity.
Behavioral changes such as what to eat and how much to eat are never rapid; they take time and effort to maintain. Hoping children will suddenly start their weight loss regimes and the country will get rid of childhood obesity is an impossible dream and the solution to this problem has to be something more realistic.
This simple behavioral experiment of teaching children about their food can encourage them to change their dietary habits. It is exceptionally helpful for people who are over their body mass index (BMI) and can’t help stop eating.
The previous studies reveal that eating more vegetables and fresh fruit can improve health and save the users from cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, obesity, and cancers. These effects are not only true for adults but also true for children.
Introducing children to food sources, the nutritional value of these foods, and how to cook them can help them make better decisions for their dietary habits, thus controlling childhood obesity.