School Garden Prevalence Before and After the Implementation of the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act

Naomi Reyes, Montserrat Ganderats-Fuentes, Francesco Acciai, Jessica Eliason, Punam Ohri-Vachaspati

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

BACKGROUND: The Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act (HHFKA) of 2010 supported implementation of school gardens for promoting fruit and vegetable consumption. We examined school garden prevalence over time by school-level factors during the period before and after the implementation of HHFKA. METHODS: Using data from the New Jersey Child Health Study, conducted in 4 low-income New Jersey cities, prevalence of school gardens among K-12 schools (n = 148) was assessed between school year 2010-2011 and 2017-2018. Multivariable analysis estimated changes in garden prevalence over time adjusting for school-level factors. RESULTS: Overall, the sample included 97 elementary and 51 middle/high schools. Multivariable logistic regression showed that compared to 2010-2011 (19%) a higher proportion of schools reported having a garden in 2013-2014 (32%, p = 0.025). Over the entire study period, schools with majority Hispanic student enrollment had approximately half the odds of having a garden compared to schools with majority Black students (p = 0.036). CONCLUSION: School garden prevalence increased in the year immediately following the implementation of the HHFKA but this increase was not sustained over time. Future research should investigate the reasons for this decline and potential disparities by race/ethnicity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of School Health
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2022

Keywords

  • farm to school
  • school garden
  • school nutrition programs
  • school policy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Philosophy
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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