Volume 49 - Number 4 - 2008 | DOI: 10.5032/jae.2008.04011
Unhealthful eating patterns established early in life tend to be maintained into adulthood, and as a result, chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer, and obesity may develop. These nutrition-related problems could be reduced through dietary changes; and to facilitate these changes, nutrition education for youth that is delivered experientially may be an effective beginning. Garden curricula, which have a strong experiential learning basis, have been proposed as a method to reinforce nutrition education. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to evaluate dietary behaviors as well as nutrition/gardening knowledge among multiethnic inner-city youth garden program participants using the expanded theory of planned behavior. Youth attending a 10-week garden program completed a pre- and post-survey. Results indicated that gender and age differences were present in both dietary behavior and nutrition/gardening knowledge. Boys significantly increased their fruit and vegetable intake from the pre- to post-survey, whereas girls significantly increased meat and cholesterol consumption. Garden programs have the potential to positively affect inner-city youths' dietary behaviors and nutrition/gardening knowledge; but because results suggest that learning style differences were present in terms of gender and age, further evaluation is needed for the development of appropriate programs.