Gardening and nutrition education interventions improve nutritional knowledge and fruit and vegetable preferences of grade 3 learners in Pretoria, South Africa

O.G. Moletsane, B. Matsiliza-Mlathi, W.B. Van Averbeke, C.J. Louw
The aim of this study was to assess the impact of gardening in combination with nutrition education on fruit and vegetable knowledge retention among primary school learners in an urban environment. The study was conducted in Soshanguve township in Pretoria, South Africa. Selection of class participation was done through a random selection by the grade 3 class teachers. A pre- and post-test experimental design was used to test the effect of 3 interventions: G (gardening treatment group), N (nutrition education treatment group) or NG (nutrition education and gardening treatment group). A total of 234 eligible leaners participated in the study. Data were collected using a “taste and rate” instrument and lunchroom observation to measure preferences and attitudes of the learners with regards to fruits and vegetables. Learners' knowledge on the different food-groups, nutrient-food and nutrient-function associations and learners' ability to identify fruits and vegetables was also measured. Analysis of the data was done using ANOVA and t-tests for knowledge related variables and chi-square for preferences, attitudes and consumption variables. Results indicated that there were significant differences between the treatments for learners' ability to identify fruits and vegetables and to match food types with nutrient-function for pre- and post-test scores overall. Nutrition education combined with gardening had the greatest improvement in fruit and vegetable identification scores than the nutrition education only and the gardening only interventions. Learners from the gardening treatment showed significant improvement in preference and attitude for a larger spectrum of fruits and vegetables than the nutrition education combined with gardening and nutrition education only treatments.
Moletsane, O.G., Matsiliza-Mlathi, B., Van Averbeke, W.B. and Louw, C.J. (2020). Gardening and nutrition education interventions improve nutritional knowledge and fruit and vegetable preferences of grade 3 learners in Pretoria, South Africa. Acta Hortic. 1279, 81-88
DOI: 10.17660/ActaHortic.2020.1279.12
https://doi.org/10.17660/ActaHortic.2020.1279.12
gardening, nutrition, knowledge, fruits, vegetables
English

Acta Horticulturae