This study aimed to determine the effectiveness of a dedicated vegetable education program in achieving change in students’ behaviors towards vegetable consumption.
To measure the effectiveness of a new sensory education program for Australian primary school children (VERTICAL, Vegetable Education Resource to Increase Children’s Acceptance and Liking) designed to increase vegetable enjoyment and positively predispose to vegetable consumption on student's knowledge, ability to verbalize sensations, vegetable acceptance, attitudes, emotions, food neophobia, behavioural intentions and willingness to eat vegetables.
A novel education program for Australian primary schools was developed aiming to positively predispose children to consuming vegetables, VERTICAL (Vegetable Education Resource to Increase Children’s Acceptance and Liking). It is an experiential learning program dedicated to vegetables, combining elements from sensory education with scientific insights on children’s development of vegetable acceptance, such as exposure and role modelling. It is a short (5x1hr) program, with different units for different stages of primary school. Pre-test and post-test (collected 2 weeks after intervention) survey data (n = 299) on cognitive, attitudinal and behavioral factors associated with vegetable consumption were compared between intervention (followed VERTICAL, and control students (8-12 years) from Sydney primary schools. VERTICAL increased knowledge about vegetables and the senses, ability to verbalize sensations, vegetable acceptance and willingness to try vegetables.