School Vegetable Gardens & Vegetable Consumption in Elementary Students
The purpose of this Evidence Based Practice Brief is to explore if a relationship exists between the presence of a school vegetable garden and the total amount of vegetables consumed by the students. Current literature highlights the clinical relevance of exposing elementary school children to a school vegetable garden. Childhood obesity in the United States has more than tripled in the last three decades (Gray, Byrd, Fountain, Rader & Fruge, 2015). Of children ages 6-11 years, 17.7 percent are considered obese, greater than or equal to the 95th percentile, for their age and gender using the children’s BMI (body mass index) of kg/m2 (Ogden, Carroll, Kit, & Flegal, 2014). A strong preference for junk food among children and the prevalence of junk foods in elementary schools are cited as barriers to healthy eating (Gray et al, 2015). Despite the nutritional value of vegetables, children do not eat them at optimal levels (Lederer, King, Seo & Kim, 2016). The aim of this report is to evaluate the findings of current literature regarding schoolbased vegetable gardens and consumption behavior in elementary school children. The findings of this study will be used by nurses to educate patients and school personnel regarding possible methods to increase vegetable consumption in elementary school students. In addition, nurses may use the findings of this research to guide the nutritional assessment of pediatric patients in the elementary school age range.