New research indicates that children who are encouraged to grow their own vegetables are more likely to eat healthier. The study observed that when garden grown vegetables were slipped into school salads, kids were four times as likely to take the salad.

Although the study is admittedly small, it suggests gardens can help children’s diets, according to the lead author Brian Wansink from Cornell University. Conducted in the US, the study measured the change in vegetable selection and plate waste when school grown salad greens were incorporated in the cafeteria school lunch. The researchers measured the selections and plate waste of a total of 370 enrolled high school students.

When the salad bar contained produce grown by students, the percentage of those who selected salads with their meals increased from two percent to 10 percent and on average, students ate two-thirds of their salads. Overall, salad consumption for the entire student body increased from approximately five to 12 servings per day. This study implies the larger potential benefits of the school garden programs.

“We see great promise with this research. The first hurdle in increasing vegetable consumption is simply getting kids to put them on their plate,” co-author Drew Hanks from Ohio State University noted.

The study was published in the journal Acta Paediatrica.

Source: IANS

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Simona is a journalist who has worked with several leading publications in India over the last 17 years, writing on lifestyle topics and the arts, besides interviewing celebrities. She made the switch to public relations and headed the division as PR Manager at ITC Hotels’ flagship property, the ITC Grand Chola, but has since returned to her first love, journalism. Now she writes on food, which she is sincerely passionate about and wellness, which she finds fascinating and full of surprises. When she isn’t writing, she is busy playing the role of co-founder and communications director of The Bicycle Project, a six-year-old charity initiative that empowers tribal children in rural areas, while addressing the issue of urban waste.