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Prev Med. 2014 Dec;69 Suppl 1:S27-33. doi: 10.1016/j.ypmed.2014.10.012. Epub 2014 Oct 16.

School gardens and physical activity: a randomized controlled trial of low-income elementary schools.

Author information

1
Department of Design & Environmental Analysis, College of Human Ecology, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853, USA. Electronic address: nmw2@cornell.edu.
2
Department of Design & Environmental Analysis, College of Human Ecology, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853, USA.
3
Department of Human Development, College of Human Ecology, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853, USA.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

This study examines effects of a school garden intervention on elementary school children's physical activity (PA).

METHOD:

Twelve schools in New York were randomly assigned to receive the school garden intervention (n=6) or to the waitlist control group that later received gardens (n=6). PA was measured by self-report survey (Girls Health Enrichment Multi-site Study Activity Questionnaire) (N=227) and accelerometry (N=124, 8 schools) at baseline (Fall 2011) and follow-up (Spring 2012, Fall 2012, Spring 2013). Direct observation (N=117, 4 schools) was employed to compare indoor (classroom) and outdoor (garden) PA. Analysis was by general linear mixed models.

RESULTS:

Survey data indicate garden intervention children's reports of usual sedentary activity decreased from pre-garden baseline to post-garden more than the control group children's (Δ=-.19, p=.001). Accelerometry data reveal that during the school day, children in the garden intervention showed a greater increase in percent of time spent in moderate and moderate-to-vigorous PA from baseline to follow-up than the control group children (Δ=+.58, p=.010; Δ=+1.0, p=.044). Direct observation within-group comparison of children at schools with gardens revealed that children move more and sit less during an outdoor garden-based lesson than during an indoor, classroom-based lesson.

CONCLUSION:

School gardens show some promise to promote children's PA.

CLINICAL TRIALS REGISTRATION:

clinicaltrials.gov # NCT02148315.

KEYWORDS:

Child; Gardening; Health behavior; Motor activity; Primary schools

PMID:
25456803
DOI:
10.1016/j.ypmed.2014.10.012
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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