Dietary diversification through home gardening is a sustainable strategy that can address multiple micronutrient deficiencies. This cross-sectional study aimed to determine the association between home gardening and the dietary diversity of preschool-aged children. Households with children aged 2 to 5 years (n=200) were surveyed from Baras and Angono in the province of Rizal, Philippines in January 2008. Food security was determined based on the US Department of Agriculture Food Security Questionnaire. Dietary diversity score was based on the number of unique food groups consumed during the past 24 hours. The Student t test was performed to compare means between groups (households with gardens vs households without gardens) whereas proportions between groups were compared using Pearson's χ(2) analyses. Multiple linear regression was performed to model the adjusted regression coefficients for the quantitative outcome variables by exposure variable. Around 52.5% of children were from households with a fruit and/or vegetable garden. Children from households with gardens had higher dietary diversity scores whether using the all-inclusive dietary diversity score (6.12 vs 5.62; P=0.040) or applying a 10-g minimum intake for each food group (5.89 vs 5.37; P=0.044) compared with children who lived in homes without a garden. Children from households with gardens were significantly more likely to eat vegetables more frequently (χ(2)=9.06; P=0.029). The presence or absence of a garden was not significantly associated with food security. Having a home garden was positively associated with the child's diet diversity and with frequency of vegetable consumption. Households without gardens may benefit from interventions promoting gardens as a means to improve diet quality.
Copyright © 2011 American Dietetic Association. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.