Cultivating Carrots, Community, and Health-Conscious Children: Investigating the Effects of Community Garden Implementation on Nutrition Attitudes of Elementary Students in the Los Angeles Unified School District
Open Access Senior Thesis
Bachelor of Arts
W.M. Keck Science Department
Dr. Elise Ferree
Dr. Marina Perez de Mendiola
Dr. Donald McFarlane
© 2023 Hannah M Tiedemann
Growing up in an urban food desert can significantly affect children's development, health, and well-being (Jencks et al., 1990; Leventhal et al., 2000). Compared to their more affluent peers, youth living in low-socioeconomic urban neighborhoods are at greater risk of experiencing poor-quality diets, food insecurity, unhealthy body weights, and mental health problems (Duncan et al., 1997; Sampson et al., 1997). Moreover, children living in food-insecure households are more likely to consume calorically dense diets high in trans fat and added sugar, putting them at risk for poor health, childhood obesity, and chronic, diet-related diseases as adults (Nielsen et al., 2002). As of July 2022, 24.3% of L.A. County households were food insecure in the past year (Bruine de Bruin 2022). About four in ten of the aforementioned families contained children highly susceptible to the damaging effects of food insecurity (Bruine de Bruin 2022). Nutrition scholars recommend developing effective nutrition programming and interventions in children to combat disease risks since studies have demonstrated that food choices regarding fruits and vegetables are formed at an early age and can be traced through adulthood (O'Dea, 2004). Consequently, many schools and community organizations in L.A. County are looking for ways to reduce food insecurity in children and teach adequate nutrition knowledge. Community gardens and school-based nutrition programs represent a promising venue for nutrition behavior change, yet research specifically supporting youth gardening and its measured influence on young people is limited. Thus, this research proposal aims to explore the effects of garden-based nutrition education on children's fruit and vegetable consumption using a nonequivalent control group design. The following study will analyze the overall nutrition and nutrition attitudes of elementary students in L.A. County by comparing a control group to students who receive traditional classroom nutrition lessons and those that participate in hands-on, garden-based activities. It is predicted that the implementation of a community garden-based curriculum will significantly improve children's fruit and vegetable consumption and nutrition attitudes. The results of this study will have important implications for the possible inclusion of vegetable gardens within a school setting.
Tiedemann, Hannah Michele, "Cultivating Carrots, Community, and Health-Conscious Children: Investigating the Effects of Community Garden Implementation on Nutrition Attitudes of Elementary Students in the Los Angeles Unified School District" (2023). Scripps Senior Theses. 2182.
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