Public Health Nutrition


The impact of nutrition education with and without a school garden on knowledge, vegetable intake and preferences and quality of school life among primary-school students

Philip J Morgana1 c1, Janet M Warrena2, David R Lubansa1, Kristen L Saundersa1, Garbrielle I Quicka1 and Clare E Collinsa3

a1 School of Education, Faculty of Education & Arts, University of Newcastle, Callaghan, NSW 2308, Australia

a2 Danone Baby Nutrition, White Horse Business Park, Trowbridge, Wiltshire, BA14 OXQ, UK

a3 School of Health Sciences, Faculty of Health, University of Newcastle, Callaghan, NSW 2308, Australia


Objective To investigate the impact of school garden-enhanced nutrition education (NE) on children’s fruit and vegetable consumption, vegetable preferences, fruit and vegetable knowledge and quality of school life.

Design Quasi-experimental 10-week intervention with nutrition education and garden (NE&G), NE only and control groups. Fruit and vegetable knowledge, vegetable preferences (willingness to taste and taste ratings), fruit and vegetable consumption (24 h recall × 2) and quality of school life (QoSL) were measured at baseline and 4-month follow-up.

Setting Two primary schools in the Hunter Region, New South Wales, Australia.

Subjects A total of 127 students in Grades 5 and 6 (11–12 years old; 54 % boys).

Results Relative to controls, significant between-group differences were found for NE&G and NE students for overall willingness to taste vegetables (P < 0·001) and overall taste ratings of vegetables (P < 0·001). A treatment effect was found for the NE&G group for: ability to identify vegetables (P < 0·001); willingness to taste capsicum (P = 0·04), broccoli (P = 0·01), tomato (P < 0·001) and pea (P = 0·02); and student preference to eat broccoli (P < 0·001) and pea (P < 0·001) as a snack. No group-by-time differences were found for vegetable intake (P = 0·22), fruit intake (P = 0·23) or QoSL (P = 0·98).

Conclusions School gardens can impact positively on primary-school students’ willingness to taste vegetables and their vegetable taste ratings, but given the complexity of dietary behaviour change, more comprehensive strategies are required to increase vegetable intake.

(Received November 02 2009)

(Accepted March 17 2010)

(Online publication May 05 2010)


c1 Corresponding author: Email