Virtual Sprouts: A Virtual Gardening Pilot Intervention Increases Self-Efficacy to Cook and Eat Fruits and Vegetables in Minority Youth

Brooke M. Bell, Lauren Martinez, Marientina Gotsis, H. Chad Lane, Jaimie N. Davis, Luz Antunez-Castillo, Gisele Ragusa, Donna Spruijt-Metz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Objective: To examine the effect of the Virtual Sprouts intervention, an interactive multiplatform mobile gardening game, on dietary intake and psychosocial determinants of dietary behavior in minority youth. Materials and Methods: In this quasi-experimental pilot intervention, 180 third-, fourth-, and fifth-grade students in Los Angeles Unified School District participated in a 3-week program that included three Virtual Sprouts gaming sessions, three in-school lessons, and three in-home activities, using a nutrition- and gardening-focused curriculum. Pre- and postintervention questionnaires were used to assess psychosocial determinants of dietary behavior, including knowledge about and self-efficacy to eat fruits and vegetables (FV). Data were collected on FV, whole grains, fiber, total sugar, added sugar, and energy from sugary beverages through the Block Kids Food Screener ("last week" version) for Ages 2-17. Repeated measures analysis of covariance models was used for continuous outcomes, controlling for age, sex, ethnicity, school, and free school lunch. Results: After the intervention, the intervention group (n = 116) compared with the control group (n = 64) had a significantly improved self-efficacy to eat FV score (+1.6% vs. -10.3%, P = 0.01), and an improved self-efficacy to cook FV score (+2.9% vs. -5.0%, P = 0.05). There were no significant differences in dietary intake or self-efficacy to garden scores between intervention and control groups. Conclusion: The results from this 3-week pilot study suggest that an interactive mobile game with a nutrition- and gardening-focused curriculum can improve psychosocial determinants of dietary behavior in minority youth.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)127-135
Number of pages9
JournalGames for Health Journal
Volume7
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 2018

Keywords

  • Augmented reality
  • Human computer interaction
  • Mobile gardening game
  • Nutrition
  • Pedagogical agent
  • Self-efficacy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Rehabilitation
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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