Gardening Programs Get Kids to Eat Their Veggies

The Community Preventive Services Task Force (CPSTF) recommends school-based gardening interventions in combination with nutrition education to increase vegetable consumption among children. Gardening interventions provide children with hands-on experience planting, growing, and harvesting fruits and vegetables in an effort to increase their willingness to consume both. The recommendation is based on results from the systematic review cited below, additional information abstracted from a subset of included studies, and expert input from subject matter experts and the CPSTF:

Savoie-Roskos MR, Wengreen H, Durward C. Increasing fruit and vegetable intake among children and youth through gardening-based interventions: a systematic review. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics 2017;11(2);240-50.

Why is this important?

  • Eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables can help reduce the risk of many leading causes of illness and death, such as cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, some cancers, and obesity (CDC, 2017)
  • Most people in the United States, including children and adolescents, do not eat enough fruits and vegetables (CDC, 2017; CDC, 2013)
  • Gardening interventions have been shown to increase children’s preferences for, and willingness to try, new fruits and vegetables (Robinson-O’Brien et al, 2009).

Share this information with others!

Nutrition: Gardening Interventions to Increase Vegetable Consumption Among Children— read the summary of evidence.

Gardening Interventions to Increase Vegetable Consumption Among Children — use this one-pager as a quick reference

Healthy Nutrition Habits for Adolescents


Adolescence is a time of rapid change and development. Setting the foundations for healthy nutrition habits will help adolescents grow into strong, healthy adults. Encourage good nutrition with these resources:

  • While type 2 diabetes is generally thought of as an adult disease, the CDC reports that more than 5,000 new cases are diagnosed among youth under the age of 20 each year.
  • Inspire adolescents to eat well with these healthy recipes from their peers who won the White House Kids’ “State Dinner” competition.
  • Show adolescents that healthy food doesn’t have to be boring with these playful snack ideas that encourage fruit and vegetable consumption.

Provided by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Adolescent Health