Title:

School Gardens Linked with Kids Eating More Vegetables

URL: http://ijbnpa.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12966-021-01087-x
Summary:

Getting children to eat their vegetables can seem like an insurmountable task, but nutrition researchers at The University of Texas at Austin have found one way: school gardens and lessons on using what's grown in them. This cluster-randomized controlled trial (RCT) study of 3,135 children found that those students in the gardening, nutrition and cooking classes ate, on average, a half serving more vegetables per day than they did before the program.

Highlights:

Background

Although school garden programs have been shown to improve dietary behaviors, there has not been a cluster-randomized controlled trial (RCT) conducted to examine the effects of school garden programs on obesity or other health outcomes. The goal of this study was to evaluate the effects of a one-year school-based gardening, nutrition, and cooking intervention (called Texas Sprouts) on dietary intake, obesity outcomes, and blood pressure in elementary school children.

Methods

This study was a school-based cluster RCT with 16 elementary schools that were randomly assigned to either the Texas Sprouts intervention (8 schools) or to control (delayed intervention, 8 schools). The study specifically targeted schools with a high percentage of students on the free and reduced-price lunch program.

The delayed intervention was implemented the following academic year and received the same protocol as the intervention arm. Child outcomes measured were anthropometrics (i.e., BMI parameters, waist circumference, and body fat percentage via bioelectrical impedance), blood pressure, and dietary intake (i.e., vegetable, fruit, and sugar sweetened beverages) via survey. Data were analyzed with complete cases and with imputations at random. Generalized weighted linear mixed models were used to test the intervention effects and to account for clustering effect of sampling by school.

Results

A total of 3,135 children were enrolled in the study (the intervention group was 1,412, or 45 percent). Students in the gardening, nutrition and cooking classes ate, on average, a half serving more vegetables per day than they did before the program.

Topics: Health Promotion, Nutrition
Location: US-Texas
Resource Type: strategies and interventions
Publisher: International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity
Date Last Updated: 2021-02-04 18:26:39

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