Send to

Choose Destination
Am J Prev Med. 2013 Mar;44(3 Suppl 3):S193-9. doi: 10.1016/j.amepre.2012.11.024.

Growing healthy kids: a community garden-based obesity prevention program.

Author information

Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, North Carolina 27599-8180, USA.



Childhood obesity has increased dramatically in the past 3 decades, particularly among children aged 2-5 years. In this group, Latino children are among those with the highest prevalence of obesity.


This paper describes a pilot study to evaluate a community intervention, known as the Growing Healthy Kids Program (GHK), to prevent childhood obesity among low-income families in a Southern state.


The intervention included a weekly gardening session, a 7-week cooking and nutrition workshop, and social events for parents and children. Matched pre- and post-program height and weight data were collected for 95 children aged 2-15 years. Children's BMI was determined. Also, families reported on the availability and consumption of fruits and vegetables at the beginning and the end of the family's participation in the GHK program. Data were collected in 2008-2010 and analyzed in 2011.


About 60% of participants who enrolled in the program were Latino families (n=60 families/120 children). By the end of their participation in the program, 17% (n=6, p<0.004) of obese or overweight children had improved their BMI classification and 100% of the children with a BMI classification of normal had maintained that BMI classification. According to parental reports, there was an increase of 146% (p<0.001) in the availability of fruits and vegetables and an increase in the consumption of fruits (28%; p<0.001) and vegetables (33%; p<0.001) among children of families participating in the GHK program.


Findings from this pilot study are consistent with previous studies reporting an increase in availability and consumption of fruits and vegetables among families participating in community gardens. Although there are limitations because this is a pilot study, this strategy seems to be promising for addressing childhood obesity, particularly among low-income Latino immigrant families.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free full text

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center