Gardening as a child may lead to long-term habit of eating more fruits and veggies

Researchers have found that gardening as a child might lead to a lasting habit of eating more fruits and vegetables. Through the “Get Fruved” project, an acronym for “Get Your Fruits and Vegetables,” investigators have observed that college students who gardened as a child or were currently gardening reportedly ate more fruits and vegetables than those who don’t or never have gardened.

The Get Fruved project, a $4.9 million collaborative project involving eight American universities, is designed to help researchers better understand what factors predict and influence the health behaviors of college and high school students. The program uses peer interaction, social media and campus events to try to get high school and college students to eat more fruits and vegetables, exercise more, and manage stress more effectively. The program is hoping to expand gardens as well as work to improve access to healthy foods at campus eateries, hold dance events, and encourage students to challenge each other to exercise more. As part of the Get Fruved project, investigators at the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS), one of the participating universities, conducted a study in which 1,351 college students were interviewed and divided into four groups: students who gardened while growing up, students who garden now, students who gardened while growing up and are still gardening, and students who have never gardened.

Thirty percent of the interviewed students gardened as a child, and 38 percent currently garden. Students who gardened as a child and/or were currently gardening ate 2.9 cups of fruits and vegetables daily, while those who said they never gardened ate 2.4 cups of fruits and vegetables per day.

This study suggests that teaching children about gardening at home, in schools, or through clubs would be beneficial in setting healthier long-term eating habits. Another great reason to grow your own food!

SOURCE: University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences. Gardening as a child may lead college students to eat more veggies. ScienceDaily site. 19 Sep 2016. releases/2016/09/160919110301.htm. Accessed 27 Feb 2019. N

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