OBJECTIVE: While there is excellent evidence that a high vegetable intake is important for good health, there is a lack of effective strategies to encourage vegetable consumption. The purpose of this study was to determine the relationship between gardening and vegetable consumption across income brackets.
METHODS: This cross-sectional survey was open to adults in the months of March and April. Participants were recruited via online forums and flyers distributed throughout the city of Seattle. All participants completed a brief diet screener to determine average daily vegetable servings consumed over the prior month, which was outside of the growing season due to the recruitment time-frame. Gardeners were asked about their access to land and education resources. Non-gardeners were asked about their motivations and perceived barriers to gardening.
RESULTS: We found that gardeners, across income levels ranging from less than $10,000 to over $75,000 per year, do not eat significantly (p=.204) more vegetables than non-gardeners in the off-season. In this study, gardeners consumed a mean of 6.8 servings of vegetables per day, compared with non-gardeners who consumed a mean of 5.7 servings. Gardeners grew a diverse selection of vegetables, which may have health benefits independent of total servings consumed. Non-gardeners frequently expressed an interest in gardening, but cited a lack of adequate space or knowledge as being barriers to gardening. Conversely, non-gardeners said that having space to garden would be an important factor in deciding to grow vegetables. Interestingly, gardeners were significantly more likely to be homeowners than non-gardeners, and most gardeners reported that they garden at home. Additionally, gardeners said that they learned to garden mainly from friends or family, and less so from books, and/or the internet.
CONCLUSIONS: These data suggest that providing greater access to gardening space may be the most effective way to encourage people to become vegetable gardeners. Additional intervention-based research is needed to determine the relationship between gardening and vegetable consumption, both in terms of quantity and variety consumed, and to examine the effects of gardening on diet across growing seasons.
|Commitee:||Boutin, Debra, Kingsbury, Sheila|
|Department:||Department of Nutrition|
|School Location:||United States -- Washington|
|Source:||MAI 51/01M(E), Masters Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Agriculture, Nutrition, Public health|
|Keywords:||Diet, Gardening, Vegetables|
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