Title

Agricultural Experiences Are Positively Associated With High School Students' Fruit and Vegetable Perceptions and Consumption

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date

10-2017

Abstract

Objective: To examine the relationship between high school students’ agricultural experiences and their (1) attitudes about consuming local fruits and vegetables, (2) willingness to try new fruits and vegetables, and (3) fruit and vegetable consumption. Design: Cross-sectional survey research. Setting: Public high schools in a lower-income, diverse, urban, northeastern community. Participants: A total of 327 students from 3 public high schools. Main Outcome Measure(s): Exposures were prior experience helping on a farm or community garden (yes/no) and having a home garden (yes/no). Outcomes were perceptions about local produce consumption (α = .73), willingness to try new fruits (α = .86) and vegetables (α = .86), and adequate fruit and vegetable consumption (yes/no) as measured by a valid 2-item cup screener. Analysis: Independent t tests, 1-way ANOVA, and chi-square tests were used. Results: Half of students (52.9%) reported prior farm experience; 29.7% reported having a garden at home. Few students reported consuming at least 3 cups/d of vegetables (9.8%) or 2 cups/d of fruit (37.0%). Students with prior farm experience had more favorable scores for local produce perceptions (P = .002) and willingness to try new fruits (P = .001) and vegetables (P < .001) than were students without prior experience. Students with a home garden had more favorable scores for local produce perceptions (P = .02) and willingness to try new fruits (P = .001) and vegetables (P = .001) and more often consumed adequate vegetables (P = .007) than did students without a garden. Conclusions and Implications: Those working with high school students might consider offering agriculture experiences that could promote positive fruit and vegetable attitudes and behaviors

Comments

Nicole Gaudet and Brianna Castrogivanni are graduate students in the Exercise Science Department of the College of Health Professions at Sacred Heart University.

DOI

10.1016/j.jneb.2017.08.009

PMID

28988655