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Nudging children toward healthier food choices: An experiment combining school and home gardens

Nudging children toward healthier food choices: An experiment combining school and home gardens

Schreinemachers, Pepijn, Baliki, Ghassan, Shrestha, Rachana Manandhar, Bhattarai, Dhruba Raj, Gautam, Ishwori P., Ghimire, Puspa Lal, Subedi, Bhishma P. and Brück, Tilman ORCID: 0000-0002-8344-8948 (2020) Nudging children toward healthier food choices: An experiment combining school and home gardens. Global Food Security, 26:100454. ISSN 2211-9124 (doi:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.gfs.2020.100454)

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Abstract

School gardens have become a widely used approach to influence children's food knowledge, preferences and choices in low- and high-income countries alike. However, evidence indicates that such programs are more effective at influencing food knowledge and preferences than actual food choices. Such finding may occur because school gardens insufficiently influence the food behavior of parents and because healthy food items are not always available in children's homes. We tested this hypothesis using a one-year cluster randomized controlled trial in Nepal with 15 treatment and 15 control schools and a matched sample of 779 schoolchildren (aged 8–12) and their caregivers. Data were collected before and after the intervention during the 2018–2019 school year. In addition, children's food consumption was monitored using a monthly food logbook. Average treatment effects were quantified with a double-difference estimator. For caregivers, the intervention led to a 26% increase in their food and nutrition knowledge (p < 0.001), a 5% increase in their agricultural knowledge (p = 0.022), a 10% increase in their liking for vegetables (p < 0.001), and a 15% increase in home garden productivity (p = 0.073). For children, the intervention had no discernible effect on food and nutrition knowledge (p = 0.666) but led to a 6% increase in their liking for vegetables (p = 0.070), healthy food practices (p < 0.001), and vegetable consumption (October–December +15%; p = 0.084; January–March +26%; p = 0.017; April–June +26%; p = 0.088). The results therefore indicate both schools and parents matter for nudging children toward healthier food choices.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: © 2020 The Authors. Published by Elsevier B.V. This is an open access article under the CC BY license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).
Uncontrolled Keywords: home gardens; school gardens; nutrition; impact evaluation
Subjects: S Agriculture > S Agriculture (General)
Faculty / Department / Research Group: Faculty of Engineering & Science
Faculty of Engineering & Science > Natural Resources Institute
Faculty of Engineering & Science > Natural Resources Institute > Livelihoods & Institutions Department
Last Modified: 17 Nov 2020 15:13
Selected for GREAT 2016: None
Selected for GREAT 2017: None
Selected for GREAT 2018: None
Selected for GREAT 2019: None
Selected for REF2021: None
URI: http://gala.gre.ac.uk/id/eprint/30211

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