Children's Gardening and Nutrition

At The New York Botanical Garden we are committed to teaching children about good nutrition and how to grow healthful foods.

Childhood obesity is a serious, growing health concern in the United States. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that the prevalence in obesity increased for children aged 2-5 years, from 5% to 12.4%; for those aged 6-11 years, from 6.5% to 17%; and for those aged 12-19 years from 5% to 17.6% over a 30-year period, from 1976-2006.

Obese children are more likely to develop heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, asthma, and sleep apnea, and to experience social discrimination. Fortunately, obesity can be fought with regular physical activity and healthy eating habits. Central to good nutrition is eating fresh fruits and vegetables daily.

The Botanical Garden teaches children about good nutrition and how to grow healthful foods. Our premier site for teaching these lessons is the Ruth Rea Howell Family Garden, a 1.5-acre garden where children get hands-on gardening instruction, from planting to harvesting. Children also learn how to cook simple, healthy dishes from their freshly harvested crops.

The Family Garden receives more than 40,000 visits annually, approximately 50% of these from Bronx children and their families. By teaching good nutrition habits and basic gardening skills, the Garden is empowering youngsters with knowledge that will serve them for a lifetime.

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