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School Gardens Enhance Academic Performance and Dietary Outcomes in Children


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Schools face increasing demands to provide education on healthy living and improve core academic performance. Although these appear to be competing concerns, they may interact beneficially. This article focuses on school garden programs and their effects on students' academic and dietary outcomes. Database searches in CABI, Web of Science, Web of Knowledge, PubMed, Education Full Text, Education Resources Information Center (ERIC), and PsychINFO were conducted through May 2013 for peer-reviewed literature related to school-day garden interventions with measures of dietary and/or academic outcomes. Among 12 identified garden studies with dietary measures, all showed increases/improvements in predictors of fruit and vegetable (FV) consumption. Seven of these also included self-reported FV intake with 5 showing an increase and 2 showing no change. Four additional interventions that included a garden component measured academic outcomes; of these, 2 showed improvements in science achievement and 1 measured and showed improvements in math scores. This small set of studies offers evidence that garden-based learning does not negatively impact academic performance or FV consumption and may favorably impact both. Additional studies with more robust experimental designs and outcome measures are necessary to understand the effects of experiential garden-based learning on children's academic and dietary outcomes. © 2015, American School Health Association.
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School Gardens Enhance Academic
Performance and Dietary Outcomes
in Children
BACKGROUND: Schools face increasing demands to provide education on healthy living and improve core academic
performance. Although these appear to be competing concerns, they may interact beneficially. This article focuses on school
garden programs and their effects on students’ academic and dietary outcomes.
METHODS: Database searches in CABI, Web of Science, Web of Knowledge, PubMed, Education Full Text, Education
Resources Information Center (ERIC), and PsychINFO were conducted through May 2013 for peer-reviewed literature related to
school-day garden interventions with measures of dietary and/or academic outcomes.
RESULTS: Among 12 identified garden studies with dietary measures, all showed increases/improvements in predictors of fruit
and vegetable (FV) consumption. Seven of these also included self-reported FV intake with 5 showing an increase and 2 showing
no change. Four additional interventions that included a garden component measured academic outcomes; of these, 2 showed
improvements in science achievement and 1 measured and showed improvements in math scores.
CONCLUSIONS: This small set of studies offers evidence that garden-based learning does not negatively impact academic
performance or FV consumption and may favorably impact both. Additional studies with more robust experimental designs and
outcome measures are necessary to understand the effects of experiential garden-based learning on children’s academic and
dietary outcomes.
Keywords: nutrition and diet; curriculum; child and adolescent health; school health.
Citation: Berezowitz CK, Bontrager Yoder AB, Schoeller DA. School gardens enhance academic performance and dietary
outcomes in children. J Sch Health. 2015; 85: 508-518.
Received on January 22, 2014
Accepted on January 14, 2015
Among the issues facing public education are 2
competing trends. First, there is increasing
emphasis in schools and districts across the country
on academic performance as a measure of student
outcomes, largely to align with federal and state
legislation such as No Child Left Behind and Race to
the Top.1Second, there is increasing emphasis on
public health interventions in schools to improve
children’s health, including those to combat the
problems of low fitness and excess obesity. Both have
gained momentum, the former as a result of national
aResearch Assistant, (, Department of Nutritional Sciences and Department of Educational Psychology, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1415 Linden Drive,
Madi son, WI 53706.
bResearch Assistant, (, Department of Nutritional Sciences, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1415 Linden Drive, Madison, WI 53706.
cProfessor Emeritus, (, Department of Nutritional Sciences, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1415 Linden Drive, Madison, WI 53706.
Address correspondence to: Clai re K. Berezowitz, Research Assi stant, (cberezowi, Department of Nut ritional Sciences and Depar tmentofEducationalPsychology,
Univer sity of Wi sconsin-Madison, 1415 Linden Dri ve, Madison, WI 53706.
This publication was supported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Community Transformation Grant (CTG) Program, which is made available throughthe
Prevention and Publi c Health Fund of the Affordable Care Act (Board of Regents of the Universi ty of Wisconsin System: Grant Number 3597; PI : Sarah Van Orman, MD, MMM). The
findings and conclusions i n this article ar e those of the authors and do not necessaril y represent the views of the Univers ity of Wisconsin-Madison, theUSDepartmentofHealth
and Human Services or the Centers f or Disease Control and Prevention.
performance initiatives and the latter as a result of data
showing a decline in US children’s nutritional status,
with nearly one third now classified as overweight
or obese.2Despite possible linkages between obesity
and academic performance, proponents of both often
appear to be in opposition: both compete for limited
time and funding. Thus, this article aims to summarize
existing knowledge of possible synergies between
dietary and academic outcomes resulting from school-
based interventions aimed at improving student
508 Journal of School Health August 2015, Vol. 85, No. 8 ©2015, American School Health Association
Obesity is a public concern because obese children
are more likely to be obese throughout their adult
years, and are more likely than healthy-weight
children to begin experiencing weight-related health
complications at an earlier age.3Beyond the health
risks, however, are negative associations of obesity
with academic performance, suggesting that programs
to address obesity may also address some issues related
to academic performance. Cross-sectional data show
that obese children have lower grades and standardized
test scores, as well as more behavioral problems
than their healthy-weight peers.4-7In one study,
overweight seventh to ninth graders had a mean GPA
that was 0.2 lower than healthy-body mass index
(BMI) children and were twice as likely to have grades
of less than 2.0 on a 4.0 scale.8Because obesity is
linked to academic outcomes, it should be important
to balance school-based programs that maximize both
health and academic outcomes.
There is strong rationale for these associations
between health and academic performance. Health
may impact several pro-academic behaviors, such as
school attendance and time spent on homework.9In
addition, obesity can negatively impact social interac-
tions, and this, in turn, has been associated with lower
academic performance.10 Previous reviews have exam-
ined school-based nutrition interventions, but have
focused on school breakfast, noting mostly positive
effects on outcomes supporting academic success.9,11
Furthermore, reviews demonstrate that school nutri-
tion programs effectively reduce hunger.12-14 There-
fore, studies relating to school meal implementation
are not included in this article.
The history of nutrition-related public health pro-
grams in US schools is strongly tied to school meal
programs. An estimated 52 million children aged
5-17 years spend significant time at school.15,16 The
National School Lunch Program (NSLP), first legis-
lated in 1946, aimed to reduce nutritional deficien-
cies and ‘‘to encourage the domestic consumption of
nutrition agricultural commodities and other food.’’3
Later, the School Breakfast Program (SBP) was autho-
rized in 1975 with the goal of providing ‘‘adequate
nutrition,’’ targeting those with high risk for a nutri-
tional deficiency, such as children from low-income
families.3,17 Today, an average of 31 million chil-
dren participate in the NSLP and about 10 million
in the SBP each day.3NSLP participants consume
an average of 35% of their daily energy at school;
children participating in both meal programs may
consume as much as half.18 More recent school
nutrition efforts include the national farm-to-school
movement to bring more local fruits and vegetables
(FV) into school cafeterias and classrooms. Thus, it
would seem that school nutrition programs have con-
siderable opportunity to positively influence student
In recent years, schools have begun exploring new
opportunities to educate students on healthy dietary
habits in addition to providing school meals. Health
education has been part of school curricula for decades,
and although a set of national standards published by
the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
exists,19 we are not able to locate documentation of
their use in schools. One such educational opportunity
arises from the provision of school gardens, which
has spread across the United States, supported by
nonprofit organizations, grassroots organizing, and
even federal funding.20,21 Gardens have a history
that began decades ago as a means of science
instruction.21,22 Today, gardens are also promoted as
a means for children to increase exposure to FV, and
thereby improve attitudes and preferences related to
FV consumption. Loosely rooted in social cognitive
theory, the premise is that exposure, attitudes, and
preferences mediate FV consumption; moreover, the
CDC promotes increased FV consumption as a strategy
for reducing obesity prevalence.23,24
A few reviews published to date have focused on
the unique effects of school-based interventions aimed
at improving diet quality, with or without garden
education, on student academic outcomes. Fewer still
have focused exclusively on longitudinal, school-based
interventions. This is understandable given the signif-
icant burden of time to undertake such interventions
and evaluations. While the long-standing school pro-
grams are based on nutrition principles related to
health, it continues to be challenging for schools to rec-
oncile increasing academic accountability with public
health programming. Concurrent with the increased
emphasis on standardized test performance, programs
involving school meals, nutrition education (NE), and
school gardens have arisen to creatively address health
concerns. If evidence exists that academic performance
can be maintained or improved while implementing
health-focused programs, they can be justified.
This article aims to collate findings with respect
to school garden interventions that include measures
of academic performance and/or FV consumption. To
dissect these issues, this article is organized around 2
guiding questions: (1) Do interventions with school
gardens change dietary outcomes or their predictors?
(2) Do interventions with school gardens impact
academic outcomes?
Database searches for peer-reviewed publica-
tions were conducted in CABI, Web of Science,
Web of Knowledge, PubMed, Education Full Text,
ERIC, and PsychINFO as of May 2013. Keywords
included various combinations of schools, academic
performance/achievement, school performance,
standardized test scores, cognitive function, nutrition
Journal of School Health August 2015, Vol. 85, No. 8 ©2015, American School Health Association 509
education/intervention/programs, schools, farm-
to-school, school gardens, and nutrition/dietary
intervention, yielding 3731 records. Titles and
abstracts were scanned for relevance to our stated
aims with 155 identified as potentially relevant.
Finally, studies were assessed for quality and content,
and reference lists were checked for additional sources.
To be included, studies needed to be school garden
interventions conducted during the school day, lasting
at least 1 month, in the K-12 grade range, and
include measures of academic performance and/or
diet. Studies were excluded that were not school-
based, were from non-Western cultures, were shorter
than 1 month, or were not in English. The final set of
papers, totaling 15 individual studies represented by
16 papers, lacked similar designs and measures, and
thus, formal meta-analysis was not feasible.
Twelve studies measuring school gardens’ effects on
predictors of and/or actual FV intake met inclusion
criteria (Table 1). Interventions comprised specifi-
cally designed garden curricula,25,26 comparisons of
NE lessons with and without gardening, or garden-
based learning integrated into regular science classes.
Interventions involved at least 9 lessons, with some
lasting up to 4 months. One intervention compared
outcomes for nongardening students with those in
their first or second year of exposure to the program.27
Half of the studies included fourth and/or fifth graders;
more advanced grades. Cohort size ranged from 97
to almost 2000 students; most were in the 100-300
range. Cohort ethnicity ratios were included for half
of the studies and varied greatly: 2 were ‘‘predomi-
nantly White,’’ whereas the remaining 4 were 29-93%
non-White, with 84% of 1 study’s participants self-
identifying as Hispanic. No studies specified whether
participating schools were public or private, and only
28 specified whether participants were from
urban or rural settings, although another29 can be eas-
ily identified as urban. Geographic location also varied.
Dietary outcome measures were either predictors of
and/or reported FV intake. Studies assessing predic-
tors of intake included measures of nutrition/dietary
knowledge,29-33 willingness to taste FV,28,29,33,34 atti-
tudes toward FV,31,33,35 and preference for or choosing
FV for meals or snacks.27,28,29,31-33,36 All indicated
statistically significant improvements in FV intake pre-
dictors. Seven studies measured self-reported FV con-
sumption, but with nuanced interpretation due to the
different tools. FV consumption results were mixed:
33,35 whereas 3 showed
an increase28,36,37 in FV consumption. The remain-
ing studies focused only on vegetable consumption: 1
showed an increase in vegetable varieties consumed
>1 time per month,
29 and the other showed garden-
ers more likely than nongardeners, including NE-only
students, to choose and consume vegetables in the
school lunchroom.32
Four studies, described in 5 papers, investigated
academic outcomes in schools with garden-based
interventions (Table 2). Two studies included third to
fifth graders,38,39 2 included first to sixth graders,40,41
and the other included only fifth graders.42 Cohort
sizes were 3769, 1197 (a subset of the larger cohort),
647, 196, and 119 students. Each employed an expe-
riential school gardening curriculum as part of the
intervention, which supplemented traditional class-
room lessons. Intervention durations ranged from
per week, to those implemented across 2 academic
years. Three studies utilized level 1 of the same youth
gardening curriculum developed by the Texas Agri-
cultural Extension Service, designed to educate third
to fifth graders about environmental science, health,
horticulture, and nutrition.43-45 Academic outcomes
were measured by science, math, and in one case
reading achievement test scores. Science achieve-
ment was assessed using a science achievement test
based on the Junior Master Gardener curriculum;38,42
math achievement was measured using the Texas
statewide standardized test39 or the Florida Compre-
hensive Achievement Test (FCAT).41,46 The FCAT also
assessed reading achievement.41,46 Two studies38,42
found significantly higher science achievement scores
among gardeners compared with nongardeners, and
the third39 found no difference. When stratified by
grade, fourth-grade gardeners showed increased sci-
ence scores, but fifth-grade nongardeners had higher
science scores, resulting in no overall difference.39 The
fourth study showed significant improvements in math
test scores.47
This article is unique in that it examined school-
based garden interventions that have the potential to
influence both academic and health-related student
outcome measures. Sixteen school garden interven-
tion studies measured academic outcomes and/or FV
consumption in children. Results indicated that these
school-based garden interventions improved or main-
tained both FV consumption or mediators thereof and
academic performance. Specifically, garden programs
improved FV intake in 71% of studies measuring that
outcome, and improved or showed no difference in
academic performance in all 5 studies comparing gar-
dening to nongardening students. Moreover, academic
test scores improved or showed no change, regardless
of the academic area assessed. However, this is a small
collection of studies, and as such these findings should
be considered preliminary.
510 Journal of School Health August 2015, Vol. 85, No. 8 ©2015, American School Health Association
Table 1. Interventions Involving School Gardens With Dietary Outcome Measures
Study Participants Design, Intervention
Outcomes: Fruit and
Vegetable Intake
Outcomes: Measured
Fruit and Vegetable
Morr is a nd
Sample size: N =3schoolsin1
district; 3 classrooms per
school; number of students
not reported
Age/grade: fourth grade
Demographics: school s
matched on st udent
demographic profil es
8.4% Afri can American
3% Asian American
17.2% Hispanic
66.5% White
25% FRPL
Design: quasi -experimental;
nonrandom group assignment
Intervention A: NE+G; 9 nutriti on
lessons, eachincluding gardening
Intervention B: NE
Control: no NE or garden
Measures: pr e/post nutr it ion
knowledge questionnaire, vegetable
preference survey
-Nutrition knowledge scores
significantly higher at the
treatment schools than at the
control school
-Results retained at 6-month
Not measured
Morr is et al34 Sample size: N =2schools(1
intervention, 1 control); 3
classrooms per school
Age/grade: first grade
Demographics: school s
matched for et hni city and
geographic location
ethnicity: not reported
%FRPL: not repor ted
Design: pilot study to assess feasibili ty
of garden-based education and
Intervention: NE +G; growing
vegetables outdoors
Control: no garden
Measures: pre/ post one-on- one student
interviews to assess knowledge of,
attitudes toward food
-Increased willingness to taste
vegetables grown in the gardens
Not measured
Nolan et al31 Sample size: N=4schools;141
students in 9 classrooms
Age/grade: second to fifth
47% male
84.4% Hispanic
3.5% Afri can American
9.2% White
9.2% Other
%FRPL: not repor ted
42.4% of
households <poverty line
per US Census Bureau data
Design: quasi-experimental (no
control), to evaluate program impact
of healt h education through
gardening on children’ s knowledge
about nutrition and att itudes toward
fruit and vegetables.
Intervention: Junior Master Gardener
nutrit ion curriculum+school
Measures: pr e/post (1) nutrition
knowledge: 13-question multiple
choice questionnaire; ( 2) preference
for fruits and vegetables: modified FV
preference questionnaire, modified;
fourth, fifth graders; (3) snack choices
-Nutrition knowledge increased,
pre- to post-test; impacted also
by grade
-FV preference increased from pre-
to post-test
-Snack choices improved from
pre- to post-test
Cotunga et al27 Sample size: N =3schoolsin1
district; 359 students
-Control: school A, fourth/fifth
-Intervention: school B, fourth
grade; first ti me in program;
school C, all students, second
time in program
-School A (control): 73% White
-School B: 41%White
-School C: 37% White
All school s: 34-38% FR PL
Design: quasi -experimental,
nonrandom group assignment;
cross-sectional, and
longitudinal-by-design: analysis of
new, first, second time exposures to
compare school lunch vegetable
selection with/without gardening
and garden produce
Intervention: garden education:
classroom lessons, school vegetable
garden visits to plant, tend, harvest;
in-gardentaste opportunities for
vegetable tended and harvested;
school B: first programexposure,
school C: second program exposure
Control (school A): no garden
Measures: t ime-of -purchase lunch
observations, 3 separate days: 1 day
offered t hree fourth cup romaine
salad from school garden, 2 days
normal-vendor salads; test of
proporti ons: choosing a sal ad
-Percent of students choosing a
salad with garden-grown
-Control: no change
-School B: 11% increase, day
-School C: 39% increase, day
Not measured
Journal of School Health August 2015, Vol. 85, No. 8 ©2015, American School Health Association 511
Table 1. Continued
Study Participants Design, Intervention
Outcomes: Fruit and
Vegetable Intake
Outcomes: Measured
Fruit and Vegetable
Lineberger and
Sample size: N =5elementary
schools; 111 students
Age/grade: third/fifth grades
ethnicity: not reported
%FRPL: not repor ted
Design: quasi -experimental:
volunteer participation of
classrooms by teachers
Intervention: Nutrition in the
Garden activity guide; 10
units combining horti culture
and nutrition; detailed
background information f or
teachers. 34 total activities in
10 units, each 20 minutes
Control: none
Measures: pre/post att it udes to
FV, FV questionnaire; FV
behaviors, 24-hour recall
-Attitudes toward vegetable
improved post-program; also
towardFV snacks. Especially
among females and younger
-No change in attitudes toward
-FV consumption did not
improve as a result of
-Very low FV intake at pre-test,
mainta ined at post-test :
estimated 2.0 servings/day
Meinen et al 28 Sample si ze: N =28 si tes; 1796
unmatched pre/post surveys
from N=801 students, 995
Age/grade: parent surveys of
second or younger graders;
student respondents for third to
seventh graders
‘‘mostly White’’
21% urban, 45% ‘ ‘urban clust er,’’
34% rural (per NHANES
21% to >70% FRPL:
7sites, 51+%
8sites, 41-50%
13 sites, 21-40%
Design: quasi -experimental,
prospective evaluation:
volunteer intervention
classrooms, with
comparison site/classroom
Intervention: Got dirt?
Gardening curriculum;
average 4 months
Control : no garden curriculum
Measures: pr e/post s urveys:
predictors of and
consumption of FV (students,
or parents for second-grade
students/younger); teachers
reported type of garden
established, number of
students participating, and
start/end dates of garden
Increasedat post relative topre:
-trying newfruit
-choosing fruit instead of
-choosing vegetables insteadof
-trying new vegetables grown
in the garden
IncreasedFV consumption as
meas ured by pare nt ( not
student) report
Morgan et a l33 Sample size: N=2schools;127
Age/grade: fifth to sixth grades
54% boys
Ethnicity: not reported
%FRPL: not repor ted
Design: quasi -experimental:
nonrandom group
Intervention: 10-weeks; group
A, NE +G; gr oup B, NE only
Control: no NE, no garden
Measures: pr e/post F V
knowledge; vegetable
preferences (willingness to
taste and taste ratings); FV
consumption (24 hour recal l)
-NE +GandNE-onlystudents,
relative to controls, showed
higher overall willingness to
taste vegetables, overall
vegetable taste ratings
-NE +Ggroupbetterableto
identify vegetables; more
willing to taste caps icum,
broccoli , tomato and pea;
higher preference to eat
broccoli and pea as a snack
-No change in fruit or vegetable
Parmer et al32 Sample si ze: N =6classrooms;115
students total: 76 intervention
(39 NE +G, 37 NE-only), 39
Age/gra de: sec ond grade; NE +G
7.3 years, NE 7. 3 years, Contr ol
7.4 years
70% male
Ethnicity: not reported
%FRPL: not repor ted
Design: quasi -experimental,
nonrandom group
Intervention A, NE+G: 1 hour
NE every other
week +1hourgardening
alternati ng weeks
Intervention B, NE-only: 1hour
NE every other week
Control: no NE or gardeni ng
Measures: pr e/post F V
knowledge, preference,
-NE +G, NE-only students
showed greater
improvements in knowledge,
taste ratings than control
NE +Ggroupmorelikelyto
choose and consume
vegetables in lunchroom
than nutrition education-
only or control groups at
512 Journal of School Health August 2015, Vol. 85, No. 8 ©2015, American School Health Association
Table 1. Continued
Study Participants Design, Intervention
Outcomes: Fruit and
Vegetable Intake
Outcomes: Measured
Fruit and Vegetable
Ratcliffe et al29 Sample size: N=3schools(2
interventions, 1 control); N=236
students total: 170 intervention;
150 control
Age/grade: sixth grade, 11-13 years
22% African American
29% Asian American
9% Fili pino American
30% Hispanic
3% Pacific I slander
7% White non-Hispani c/Other
22% Englis h-Language Learner
35% overweight, per BMI
64% FRPL
Design: quasi -experimental
Intervention: garden-based
learning sessions integrated
into regular scienceclass,
4months, total13hours.
Each session was
20 minutes i nstruction
(classroom or garden) +
40 minutes hands -on
Garden activiti es were
chosen to maximize
students’ exposure to
vegetables and peer and
adult modeling through
cyclical garden activiti es
(planting, tending,
harvesting, preparing,
Control: same health and
science learning objectives,
but no garden program
Measures: pr e/post v egetable
knowledge, attitudes, and
behavior through 2
self-administered surveys:
Garden Vegetabl es
Frequency Questionnaire
(GVFQ); Taste Test
Self-administ ered surveys:
-Increased ability to identify
-Increased preference for
-Increased willingness to taste
-For all, gardeners >controls
Taste test:
-Increased varieties of
vegetables tasted,
gardeners >controls
-No difference in willingness to
taste vegetables between
gardeners, controls
-Gardeners reported more
vegetables varieties consumed
>1×/month, both for
vegetables grown and not
grown in school garden
Wang et al 36 Sample si ze: N =327 students
Age/grade: four th to fifth grades,
followed into middle school
27% White
21% African American
14% Hispanic
8% Asian American
31% mixed/other /unknown
39% low-income; 24% of
fathers/male guardians had high
school or less education
Design: 3-year prospective
Intervention: modifications to
school food and dining;
garden and cooki ng classes;
lesson integration
Control: none
Measures: knowledge/attitudes
(questionnaire); dietary
behavior (3-day f ood diary);
household information
(parent questionnaire)
Students most exposed to the
intervention showeda
significantly greater increase
in preference for fruit and
green leafy vegetabl es,
compared with students
least exposed
-Most intervention exposure,
increasedFV intake 0.5 cups
-Least intervention exposure,
decreased FV intake 0. 3 cups
McAl eese and Ranki n37 Sample size: N =3schools(2
interventions, 1 control); 99
Age/grade: sixth grade, mean
11.1 years
Ethnicity ‘ ‘similar’’ across schools
%FRPL ‘ ‘simi lar’’ across schools
Design: nonequivalent control
group: 1 control +1
experimental schools
randomly assigned; second
experimental school
assigned based on garden
Intervention: 12-week NE
program; 1 with, 1 without
garden activiti es
Control: no NE or garden
Meas ures : pre /post 3 ×24-hour
recall workbooks
Not mea sured -NE +GparticipantsincreasedFV
servings more than students in
the two other groups
-Significant increases in vitamin A,
vitamin C, and fiber intake.
NE +G, nutrition education +garden; NE, nutrition education; %FRPL, percent of students eligible for free or reduced-price lunches; FV, fruit(s) and vegetable(s); BMI, body
mass index.
Journal of School Health August 2015, Vol. 85, No. 8 ©2015, American School Health Association 513
Table 2. Interventions Involving School Gardens With Measures of Academic Outcomes
Study Participants Intervention/Design Outcomes: Academic
Klemmer et al38 Sample size: N =7schools;N=647
students: 453 intervention in 27
classes, 194 control in 13 classes
Age/grade: thi rd to fifth grades
47% male
Ethnicity: not reported
Design: post -test only, quasi-experimental
Intervention: garden activities integrated into
science curriculum, alongside traditional
classroom lessons
Control: tr aditional classr oom teaching
Measure: science achievement test
-Intervention students scored
significantly higher science
achievement test scores than control
-Effect of grade: intervention most
effective for third- and fifth-grade
boys, fifth-grade girls
Pigg et al39 Sample size: N =1school;N=196
students: 94 interventions, 102
Age/grade: thi rd to fifth grades
Ethnicity: not reported
Desi gn: quas i-exper imental , nonr andom group
assignment; convenience sample
Intervention: youth gardening curriculum
taught by classroom teachers +traditional
classroom math, s cience
Control: traditional classroom math, science; no
Measures: pre/post Texa s Ass ess ment of
Knowledge and Skills math achievement test
-Gardening students: no improvement
in math scores; no significant
difference in sci ence sores from
-Fourth-grade gardening students
higher science scores than
-Fifth-grade controls, higher math,
science scores
Smith and Motsenbocker42 Sample size: N =3schools(1
intervention, 1 control classroom per
school); N =119 students: 62
interventions, 57 controls
Age/grade: fifth grade
Ethnicity: majority African American
Desi gn: quas i-exper imental , nonr andom group
Intervention: 14-week gardeningcurriculum
(Junior Master Gardener; 2 hours, 1×/week)
Control : no gardening cur riculum
Measure: pre/post 4 0-question science
achievement test
-Intervention students’ scores higher at
post-test, versus no difference in
control students
Hollar et al40 Sample size: N =5schools(4
interventions, 1control); N=1197
students (this is a subset of total
cohort: those qualifying for FRPL; 974
intervention, 199controls )
Age/gra de: 7. 8 years
68% Hispanic
9% Black
15% White
8% Other
100% FRPL
Design: 2 school years, quasi-experi mental,
Nutrition: modifications to school meal and
extended-day snack menus: more high-fiber
items, fewer high-glycemic items, lower total,
saturated, and trans fats
Healt h curriculum: nutrit ion and healthy
lifestyle management programfor
elementary-aged chil dren and adults, using
materi als fr om USDA T eam Nut rition and The
OrganWise Guys; FV gardens
Physical activi ty: increased school -day
physical activity opportunity:
10-15 minutes/day desk-side physical ac tivity
program, matched with core academic areas;
structured physical activity during recess, for
example, a walking club
Control: comparison school ‘‘ as usual’’
Measures: Florida Compr ehensi ve Achievement
Test (FCAT) readi ng, math scores
-Significant improvement in FCAT math
scores, +22.3 intervention versus
3.0 control (p =.001)
-Trend for improvement in FCAT
readingscores, +5.7 i ntervention
versus 1.2 control (p =.08)
Hollar et al41 Sample size: N =5schools(4
interventions, 1control); 3769
students (full cohort of study by
Hollar et al40 above)
Age/gra de: 8 year s
50% Hispanic
33% White
8% Black
8% Other
31% FRPL
Design: described above
Intervention: described above
Control : described above
Measures: thir d grade FCAT reading, mat h
-Statistically significant improvements
in academic test scores, especially
among low-income Hispanic and
White chil dren, ob served in
intervention versus control
FCAT, Florida Comprehensive Achievement Test; %FRPL, percent of students eligible for free or reduced-price lunches; USDA, United States Department of Agriculture; FV,
fruit(s) and vegetable(s).
514 Journal of School Health August 2015, Vol. 85, No. 8 ©2015, American School Health Association
Figure 1. An Illustration of Perceived Connections Between Health and Academic Success and Their Mediators
Improved diet
Concentration Time on task Nutrition
Attitudes toward
healthy eating
for FV
class time
FV consumption
school meals
Previous reviews focused on garden interventions
linked to academic outcomes but were not limited
to peer-reviewed literature as is this article.43,48,49
Herein, 4 gardening interventions indicated that such
programs support academic performance, with the
most evidence demonstrated for science test scores;
math and language arts scores improved to lesser
degrees. Gardening program impacts with respect to
children’s FV intake also demonstrated positive effects.
Moreover, teachers were generally found to report that
gardens were a valuable teaching tool. Garden program
studies also indicated an indirect, positive effect
on children’s social development. Overall, however,
garden program studies lacked scientific rigor, and the
inclusion criteria for this article yielded only a small
set of studies. It is promising that the various studies
were not discordant, but the small number of studies
tempers the strength of this article.
A schematic to illustrate possible connections
between academic and dietary inputs and outcomes
is presented in Figure 1. Mechanisms for school
nutrition interventions’ effects on academic perfor-
mance continue to be unclear. Healthier school meals
may offer a long-term effect of improved nutrient
intake and nutritional status, with positive effects on
cognition; however, socioeconomic indicators also pre-
dict academic performance in addition to nutritional
status.11,13 We suggest, as have others, that academic
outcomes may improve due to increased attendance
and, consequently, increased instructional time.44,45 It
is possible that measures of pro-academic behaviors
may better indicate students’ potential for academic
success: time on task, classroom behavior, creativity,
and attitudes toward learning.9
Mechanisms to explain why gardening interven-
tions specifically improve academic outcomes in
students are similarly speculative. School garden
programs broadly aim to improve children’s dietary
choices through improved knowledge of and attitudes
toward FV; this is generally conceptualized using
social cognitive theory.23 However, this does not
relate directly to academic outcomes. It is clear
from protein-energy malnutrition-related literature
that improving students’ nutritional status improves
academic outcomes,12,45,50 but this effect is less
apparent in students who are provided with adequate
protein and energy.9School gardens may improve
students’ attitudes toward school itselfa byproduct
of experiential education, rather than a primary
objective of the program itself, because enhanced
school engagement leads to improved academic
outcomes. Gardens also may help students develop
observational skills, and simultaneously provide an
opportunity for students to integrate interdisciplinary
content in the context of a living laboratory. Indeed,
experiential learning opportunities like school gardens
have been shown to increase student engagement.
Christenson et al51 define experiential learning as
activities that enhance student learning through active
participation. This type of learning has been shown to
motivate students to dedicate time and energy to their
learning, leading to more engaged students.51
Journal of School Health August 2015, Vol. 85, No. 8 ©2015, American School Health Association 515
While the degree of change in each of these stud-
ies is not large, it may help close the achievement
gap between low- and adequate-income families.40,41
Much like substantial dietary change is difficult to
achieve, substantial academic achievement improve-
ment is probably difficult to achieve without sus-
tained changes to the learning environment. Although
extensive attention has been given to improving
academic performance by preventing protein-energy
malnutrition,9,11-14 excess nutrition and the resul-
tant obesity also influence academic performance.
As described above, the documented connections
between obesity and academic performance indicate
that healthier children are also better learners.4-8
Nutrition education, meal offerings, and school gar-
dens are also aimed at obesity prevention through
improved diet quality as a result of increased knowl-
edge, improved food options in the school setting, and
improved choices throughout an individual’s lifetime.
This article has limitations. Interventions were
methodologically diverse. These garden interventions,
like in earlier reviews, commonly identified incom-
plete methodological descriptions, use of a conve-
nience sample, often a lack of a control group, and
small cohorts.49 These shortcomings limit between-
study comparisons and definitive conclusions. As men-
tioned above, a major limitation is the small number
of studies that met inclusion criteria. Indeed, previ-
ous reviews of both academic and nutritional/dietary
outcomes cautioned against overly zealous affirma-
tions of such interventions because the literature is
scarce, albeit growing, particularly with regard to gar-
den programs. Further work is needed using strong
experimental designs with control groups, longitudinal
analyses, and nonconvenience-sample cohorts.
Furthermore, few nutrition and garden interven-
tions have measured academic performance. Among
those that have, outcomes are difficult to compare
due to diverse measurement tools. The recent national
creation of the Common Core Standards may bet-
ter facilitate academic outcomes assessment along-
side health-oriented school programs. Legislators and
school administrators are accustomed to utilizing stan-
dardized test scores and school grades for outcome
comparisons, and the new standards may permit
improved across-site academic outcome comparabil-
ity. In addition, the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of
2010 legislated extensive changes in the NSLP and SBP
nutrition aims,52 and identified important evaluative
outcome include children’s improved health concur-
rent with the ongoing aims of improved academic
No studies addressed instructional quality due to
their limited scope, but it could be considered in this
newer context. Aspects of academic performance such
as time on task and classroom behavior, although
vital to the school and learning environment, require
much more time on the part of the investigator
and/or teacher to quantify and qualify. These are
important aspects to measure in future studies. Finally,
cohort age ranges are limited, with most focusing on
elementary students, suggesting a need for studies
involving middle and high school students.
vention studies show potential for school-based inter-
ventions to improve student academic performance,
attendance, as well as mediators of FV intake, although
the effects are small and most studies are quasi-
experimental in nature. Schools may want to consider
school gardens as a hands-on instructional tool to
enhance science learning and to potentially improve
long-term FV consumption. However, few studies
met inclusion criteria, limiting the strength of these
findings. More research is needed with a focus on
comprehensive school garden interventions, including
those involving school meal modifications, NE, and
expanded opportunities for integrating school gardens
into curricular instruction. Balancing scientific rigor
with minimal disruption in the school day is a chal-
lenge, but one worth undertaking in order to ensure
that educational systems/settings promote intellectual
and physical health and development for all children.
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518 Journal of School Health August 2015, Vol. 85, No. 8 ©2015, American School Health Association
... Most of this research showed a positive impact on both academic and transversal and transferable skill outcomes (Williams and Dixon, 2013). This focus on learning outcomes also revealed a need for improved means for measuring and understanding the effects, i.e., how direct interaction with nature may impact wellbeing (Roberts et al., 2019), outcomes related to diet and food consumption (Berezowitz et al., 2015;Robinson-O'Brien et al., 2009;Savoie-Roskos et al., 2017), or physical activity (Gray et al., 2015). Another important research consideration has revolved around teaching strategies and teacher education. ...
... Within the previously mentioned strand of research into food education, several studies (Nigris and Balconi, 2015;Robinson-O'Brien et al., 2009;Savoie-Roskos et al., 2017) revealed that garden-based food education positively influenced children's and adolescents' consumption of fruit and vegetables with a longterm effect (Kropp et al., 2018), also underlining the importance of the impact especially on children with previous low intakes (Berezowitz et al., 2015). Another study of the vegetable garden and farm settings by Kangas and colleagues suggested that the more the teacher "trusts" pupils, the more the latter "take responsibility in resolving problems and asking for help from other pupils" (Kangas et al., 2017, p. 88). ...
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This literature review stems from the need to investigate the assumption that farms are learning environments whose value is further enhanced when teaching-learning activities are co-designed by teachers and farmers. The literature was intended to theoretically support the rationale for the DEMETER project, which aims to develop an interdisciplinary teaching methodology and identify strategies and tools to assess farm-based learning outcomes (in terms of both disciplinary and cross-curricular competencies). We reviewed existing research that tested tools and gathered evidence regarding the project's focuses: farm-school partnerships, outdoor learning outcomes, and teaching strategies for outdoor learning contexts. The reviewed studies were selected based on the reliability of their contents and the rigor with which the authors formulated the research questions and analysed the empirical data. Overall, despite the popularity of many forms of outdoor learning, scholars converge on the need for greater scrutiny of the effectiveness and reliability of the teaching methodologies deployed.
... In fact, many institutions have developed botanical collections within their institutional grounds to cater for the learning of their constituencies. Schools have set up botanical collections to offer students dynamic and novel educational methods, boost students' consumption of fruits and vegetables, and instill an early determination for environmental conservation [42][43][44] . Universities display native and traditionally used plant species on their campuses to promote local heritage and culture. ...
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Since many cities lack botanical gardens, we introduced the concept of Ancillary Botanic Gardens (ABG), which builds on the premise that organizations can expand informal botanical learning by adding a secondary function to their institutional green spaces. This study guides the application of the ABG concept in various spatial and functional contexts by offering practical and interpretive tools to organizations who are less used to working with nature but are interested in mitigating urban residents’ detachment from nature. Online maps of 220 botanic gardens were reviewed to define types of plant collections and produce an exhaustive list of physical botanic garden elements. The collected information was developed into an ABG field checklist that was tested on three case studies in Lebanon and then used to develop guidelines for ABG establishment. The guidelines and checklist are meant to empower and guide organizations interested in establishing an ABG.
... Anthropometric assessment revealed that excessive feeding led to obesity, while undernourishment was caused by low food intake. Furthermore, low food intake caused low learning achievement, and balanced diet consumption promoted normal nutritional status [53]. A study in Ethiopia found that female Junior High School students with normal nutritional status in Bahir Dar Amhara City experienced a direct effect of increasing learning achievement by 72%. ...
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Background and Objectives: Optimal learning achievement is often obtained through the consumption of nutritious and balanced food, which prevents poor nutritional statuses, such as severely underweight, underweight, overweight, and obese. This is particularly relevant to Junior High School students aged 11-16 years, who are more prone to malnutrition. Therefore, this study aimed to improve learning achievement through balanced nutrition among Junior High School students. Materials and Methods: The study procedures were carried out using a quantitative approach with a cross-sectional design. The sample population consisted of 350 Junior High School students in Jayapura Municipality, Papua Province, Indonesia. Primary and secondary data were obtained from relevant sources and analyzed using frequency distribution analysis and statistical path analysis tests. Results: The results showed the indirect effect of exogenous variables on the endogenous, where nutritional knowledge and a balanced diet influenced nutritional status (p-value = 0.001), but physical activity had no impact (p-value = 0.167). Meanwhile, the direct effect of exogenous variables on the endogenous showed that nutritional knowledge, interest in learning, and nutritional status influenced students’ achievement (p-value = 0.001). Based on these results, nutritional status played a crucial role in improving the learning achievement of junior high school students.
... Williams and Dixon's work (2013) along with the work of Berezowitz, Yoder and Schoeller (2015) also found that curriculum connections being made by school gardens enhance academic performance among its students. ...
... Generally, children's dislike for eating vegetables (Cooke & Wardle, 2005) is influenced by environmental and personal eating choices (Birch, 1999). Berezowitz et al., (2015) reported a positive correlation between vegetable consumption and pupils' SG activities. Improvement in pupils' artistic abilities while working collaboratively to solve local environmental challenges was another positive outcome (Inwood, 2009).The SG experience also assisted in training students to make responsible economic decisions (Sarti et al., 2017), such as calculating the vegetables required for home consumption and planning for any excess harvest. ...
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This paper examines the practice of school gardening in Trinidad and Tobago. It describes major benefits of school gardens anddiscusses issues in the primary school curriculum,including societal and administrative perceptions that hinder the realization of objectives of school gardening practice. The creation and development of indigenous knowledge is a major benefit of school gardening, hence its suitability as a medium for change and improvement, especially in Caribbean states where issues of food security arise.Additionally, this paper assesses the impact of the pandemic on implementing school gardens and proposes feasible solutions to sustain the practice in an online teaching and assessment environment in the face of pandemic restrictions, based on the adaptation of an approach used by tertiary education students of the Centre for Education Programmes at the University of Trinidad and Tobago. Benefits and limitations of this approach are discussed and recommendations proposed for educators and administrators.
... Despite the unquestionable urgency of addressing these issues to ensure a sustainable future, there is a paucity of research on food systems education and there is a need to promote critical studies on this topic [10,11]. Our study aims to make a novel contribution that seeks to help alleviate the lack of research on education for a sustainable food transition. ...
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The sustainability of the food system is a particularly relevant issue today as it is a challenge to ensure environmental sustainability and the need to guarantee access to food in all parts of the world to promote social equity. Given this, the need to promote a sustainable food transition in consumption habits becomes imperative. It is crucial that teachers be sensitised to this issue so that they can try to develop a critical and globally aware student body that is committed to a social transformation towards sustainability. The main objective of this study is discovering the opinions of preservice teachers (PSTs) on sustainable food. It also has two specific objectives: (1) analyze the initial opinions of prospective teachers on sustainable food before and after carrying out an educational intervention on this topic, and (2) study the relationship between the opinions of PSTs and variables related to their personality or their relationship with nature, among others. A longitudinal pre-test-intervention-post-test design using quantitative methods was carried out to explore the opinions of 49 pre-service teachers studying for a degree in Primary Education before and after the educational intervention. The results show changes in the opinions of future teachers after the application of the educational intervention and differences towards food sustainability according to some socio-demographic variables such as gender.
... Fruit and vegetable (FV) gardens have the potential to affect children's health behaviors, including dietary intake [28,29] and PA [30,31], in addition to providing opportunities for pedagogical instruction in areas such as science, math, and language arts [32,33]. Gardening offers children a variety of activities involving a range of PA intensities from low (e.g., transplanting, mixing growing medium, harvesting), to moderate (e.g., weeding, mulching), to high intensity (e.g., digging, raking) [34,35]. ...
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This study examined the effects of a childcare gardening intervention on children’s physical activity (PA). Eligible childcare centers were randomly assigned to: (1) garden intervention (n = 5; year 1); (2) waitlist control (n = 5; control year 1, intervention year 2); or (3) control (n = 5; year 2 only) groups. Across the two-year study, PA was measured for 3 days at four data collection periods using Actigraph GT3X+ accelerometers. The intervention comprised 6 raised fruit and vegetable garden beds and a gardening guide with age-appropriate learning activities. The sample included a total of 321 3–5-year-olds enrolled in childcare centers in Wake County, North Carolina, with n = 293 possessing PA data for at least one time point. The analyses employed repeated measures linear mixed models (SAS v 9.4 PROC MIXED), accounting for clustering of the children within the center and relevant covariates (e.g., cohort, weather, outside days, accelerometer wear). A significant intervention effect was found for MVPA (p < 0.0001) and SED minutes (p = 0.0004), with children at intervention centers acquiring approximately 6 min more MVPA and 14 min less sedentary time each day. The effects were moderated by sex and age, with a stronger impact for boys and the youngest children. The results suggest that childcare gardening has potential as a PA intervention.
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Poznan educational studies 2021, conducted in order to improve Poznan city’s educational policy for the next ten years, covers several areas of students’ school experience. The study focuses on the area of ecology and one aspect of it: students’ contact with nature. The aim of the study was to find out whether Poznan students are exposed to nature deficit and thus at risk of developing nature deficit syndrome. 996 students from primary and secondary Poznan schools were surveyed online in the Poznan educational studies project. Five questions from the questionnaire were used in this study. Basic statistics and Chi-square tests were conducted in data analysis, using row data basis on the survey. The study proved the nature deficit syndrome in the analyzed group of students. Only 14% of them experienced lessons outside the school building during their school lives. This fact is interpreted in the paper in the context of Jackson’s concept of the hidden curriculum and Eisner’s concept of the null curriculum. It also referred to the concepts of deficit of nature disorder and the hypothesis of biophilia. Keywords: nature deficit disorder, nature-based learning, hidden curriculum, null curriculum, school space
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Background The relationship between the quality of the learning environment and student outcomes is receiving more serious attention from educational psychologists, neurologists, ophthalmologists, orthopedists, surgeons, oncologists, architects, ergonomists, nutritionists, and Michelin star chefs. There is a role for ergonomic office and school design to positively impact worker and student productivity, and one design attribute drawing attention is the indoor lit environment. In this review, we expand upon the role that light plays in education, as it has enabled millions of pupils to read at late hours, which were previously too dark. However, still unappreciated is the biological effects of artificial light on circadian rhythm and its subsequent impacts on health and learning outcomes. Summary This review describes the current state of light in the educational environment, its impact, and the effect of certain inexpensive and easy-to-implement adaptations to better support student growth, learning and development. We find that the current lighting environment for pupils is sub-optima based on biological mechanism and may be improved through cost effective interventions. These interventions can achieve greater biological harmonization and improve learner outcomes. Key Message The impact of the lighting environment in educational institutions on pupil biology has received minimal attention thus far. The current lighting environment in schools is not conducive to student health and educational performance. Cost-effective approaches can have an outsized impact on student health and educational attainment. We strongly recommend educational institutions take the lit environment into account when designing educational programs.
Zaburzenia depresyjne oraz syndrom wyczerpania sił w grupie uczniów to zjawiska, które w swoim przebiegu cechują się długim czasem trwania oraz stopniową eskalacją symptomów. Dotychczasowe wyniki badań potwierdziły, że obydwa powyższe zjawiska stanowią istotne czynniki utrudniające a nawet blokujące rozwój jednostki. Jednocześnie obydwa wiążą się z utratą zasobów umożliwiających efektywne funkcjonowanie w środowisku i radzenie sobie z wyzwaniami. Jednym z takich zasobów jest umiejętność zachowania równowagi pomiędzy różnymi perspektywami temporalnymi. Celem przeprowadzonego projektu badawczego było sprawdzenie mediacyjnej roli wypalenia szkolnego w relacji pomiędzy perspektywą temporalną a poziomem depresji u adolescentów. Badaniami objęto grupę 355 uczniów (w tym 61,6% dziewcząt) z III klas szkół ponadpodstawowych (średnia wieku 18.5). W badaniu wykorzystano trzy narzędzia psychologiczne tj. skalę wypalenia szkolnego dla młodzieży SSBS, pełną wersje Kwestionariusz Perspektywy Temporalnej Zimbardo i Boyda oraz skalę depresji Kutchera dla Młodzieży. Uzyskane dane potwierdziły występowanie istotnych związków między wskaźnikami perspektywy temporalnej a depresją i wypaleniem szkolnym u uczniów. Wyniki analizy mediacyjnej ujawniły, że przeszła perspektywa temporalna oraz fatalistyczna wypalenie szkolne. Wykazano również, że koncentracja na doraźnych hedonistycznych celach nabiera istotnego znaczenia dla nasilenia depresji dopiero po uwzględnieniu w modelu poziomu wypalenia szkolnego. Przyszła perspektywa czasowa jedynie pośrednio była związana z poziomem depresji poprzez mediator. Uzyskane dane sugerują konieczność projektowania oddziaływań pomocowych skierowanych do młodzieży doświadczającej depresji i wypalenia szkolnego, uwzględniających kształtowanie efektywnego zarządzania perspektywą temporalną
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Child obesity has become a national concern. Obesity in children ages 6-17 years has more than doubled in the past 30 years. Only 20% of children today consume the recommended daily servings of fruit and vegetables. This trend is even more pronounced in minority populations. Past studies have reported a horticulture-based curriculum, including gardening, can improve children's attitudes toward eating fruit and vegetables. To investigate whether children of a minority population can benefit from gardening combined with a curriculum on nutrition, research was conducted with elementary schools in a primarily Hispanic region of Texas. Elementary school teachers participating in this research agreed to have school gardens and complete all activities in a curriculum on nutrition provided to them through the Texas Agrilife Extension Service. One hundred and forty-one children in the participating schools completed a pre- and posttest evaluating their nutritional knowledge, preference for fruit and vegetables, and snack choices before and after a gardening program supplemented with nutrition education. Differences were detected between pre- and posttest scores for all three variables. After comparing pre- and posttest scores, it was concluded that gardening and nutritional instruction had a positive effect on students' nutritional knowledge, fruit and vegetable preference (FVP), and snack choices.
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The objective of this study was to examine the association of scholastic performance with physical activity and fitness of children. To do so, school ratings of scholastic ability on a five-point scale for a nationally representative sample of 7,961 Australian schoolchildren aged 7-15 years were compared with physical activity and fitness measurements. Consistently across age and sex groups, the ratings were significantly correlated with questionnaire measures of physical activity and with performance on the 1.6-kilometer run, sit-ups and push-ups challenges, 50-meter sprint, and standing long jump. There were no significant associations for physical work capacity at a heart rate of 170 (PWC170). The results are concordant with the hypothesis that physical activity enhances academic performance, but the cross-sectional nature of the observations limits causal inference, and the disparity for PWC170 gives reason to question whether the associations were due to measurement bias or residual confounding.
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Science and math achievement scores of third, fourth, and fifth grade elementary students were studied using a sample of 196 students from McAuliffe Elementary School, located in McAllen, Texas. The experimental group of students participated in a school garden program in addition to traditional classroom-based math and science methods, while students within the control group were taught math and science using only traditional classroom-based methods. No statistically significant differences were found in comparisons of science students' achievement scores, indicating that those students using the school garden program as an additional method to learn science benefited similarly to those who learned using only traditional science classroom-based instruction. However, results indicated statistically significant differences in comparisons of students' math achievement scores, showing that those students who received traditional math instruction had more unproved math achievement scores compared to those taught using the school garden program. Results also found no statistically significant differences between gender and ethnic background comparisons. However, statistically significant differences in comparisons of grade levels showed that fourth graders benefited more, academically, from participation in the school garden program in comparison to other grade levels.
Corresponding Author: Cynthia L. Ogden, PhD, National Center for Health Statistics, 3311 Toledo Rd, Room 4414, Hyattsville, MD 20782 ( ... Context The prevalence of high body mass index ( BMI ) among children and adolescents in the United States appeared to ...
Nutrition in the Garden is a garden program designed to help teachers integrate nutrition education into their classroom using a hands-on tool, the garden. The objectives of this research project were to 1) develop a garden activity guide to help teachers integrate nutrition education, specifically as it relates to fruit and vegetables, into their curricula, 2) evaluate whether students developed more positive attitudes towards fruit and vegetables by participating in the garden program, and 3) evaluate whether students developed better nutritional behavior by eating more fruit and vegetables after participating in the garden program. Students' nutritional attitudes regarding fruit and vegetables were measured with a fruit and vegetable preference questionnaire divided into three sections targeting vegetables, fruit, and fruit and vegetable snacks. Students' nutritional behaviors regarding fruit and vegetables were evaluated through 24-hour recall journals. After gardening, students' attitudes towards vegetables became significantly more positive. In contrast, no differences were detected in attitudes towards fruit. Students also had more positive attitudes towards fruit and vegetable snacks after gardening, with female students and younger students having the greatest improvement in snack attitude scores. Even though school gardening improved students' attitudes towards vegetables, fruit and vegetable consumption of students did not significantly improve due to gardening. Overall, the average daily fruit and vegetable consumption of the students participating in the Nutrition in the Garden study was 2.0 servings per day. This falls short of the estimated national average for daily fruit and vegetable consumption for this age group (3.4 servings) and extremely short of the nationally recommended 5.0 servings per day.
Low consumption of fruits and vegetables has been implicated as a factor in the increasing childhood obesity seen over the past 2 decades. The use of school gardens is a relatively new nutrition education strategy that may provide some additional benefit in getting children to consume the recommended amount of vegetables. Previous research into the effectiveness of school gardens has shown that they have positive impacts on children's vegetable preferences, and they can have a positive impact on children's consumption of vegetables at school lunch. However, no research has examined using school garden produce at school lunch to determine whether that tactic would have an additional impact on children's consumption of vegetables at school lunch, so that is the purpose of this study. A quasi-experimental design was used along with cafeteria observations. The results showed that offering garden produce at school lunch had a small positive impact on children's food choices.
This chapter serves as an introduction to the history and study of student engagement. We describe the evolution of the construct of engagement and disciplinary differences in theories and use of the engagement construct. We highlight how our work on engagement, arising out of dropout intervention, has changed over the last decade. In addition, we delineate current issues in the study of engagement. The chapter ends with a discussion of future directions to advance the theoretical and applied use of student engagement to enhance outcomes for youth.
The first four chapters of a hands-on gardening curriculum (Junior Master Gardener Handbook Level One) were introduced into three East Baton Rouge Parish (Louisiana) elementary schools in the fall semester of 2002 as an informal education program conducted by East Baton Rouge Parish Master Gardener volunteers and Louisiana State University students. The curriculum took place once per week for 2 hours during regular school hours. Science achievement tests, developed at Texas A&M University specifically for the Junior Master Gardener program, were given before and after the students participated in the gardening activities to determine whether or not the activities helped improve achievement scores. Science achievement was significantly different (P ≤ 0.0167) between the experimental classes' pretest and posttest scores, while no significant difference was found between the pretest and posttest scores of the control classes. No significant difference was found between the experimental and control classes due to treatment. Several variables may have affected the outcome of the study, but the results show once weekly use of gardening activities and hands-on classroom activities help improve science achievement test scores.
Research supports the role of increased fruit and vegetable consumption to prevent obesity. A major challenge is how to develop and implement interventions to promote children's fruit and vegetable consumption. The school environment has been identified as a key setting; however, there is limited research linking youth gardens to fruit and vegetable consumption.Through a partnership led by the University of Wisconsin Extension, along with the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, a statewide school gardening initiative was developed. The initiative, Got Dirt?, was evaluated at 28 sites across the state to determine the effects of gardens on student health behaviors using pre- and posttest surveys on the predictors of and consumption of fruits and vegetables.Classrooms at each of the sites were randomly assigned to an intervention (garden) or control (no garden). A total of 1796 completed student (N = 801) and parent (N = 995) surveys demonstrated statistically significant changes in (1) trying new fruit (P <.05), (2) choosing fruit instead of chips/candy (P <.01), (3) choosing vegetables instead of chips/candy (P <.01), (4) trying new vegetables that were grown in the garden (P <.001), (5) tasting new vegetables (P <.01), and, most important, (6) increasing consumption of fruit and vegetables (P <.01)Youth gardens increase access to and consumption of fruits and vegetables in young children. Because increased fruit and vegetable consumption has been shown to be an effective treatment for obesity, ongoing efforts to support youth gardens can be an important public health goal toward combating obesity.
This chapter describes how internal high school reforms can be aimed at six different dimensions of student motivation and engagement. Students will respond to more accessible immediate rewards such as good grades and teacher praise when high schools improve with focused extra help for 8 needy students and other interventions to narrow skill gaps or recognize individual progress. Students will benefit from embedded intrinsic interest in their school program when innovations are introduced to challenge their minds and creativity. Students will find more functional relevance in their studies when high schools integrate academic and career education. Students will enjoy a more positive interpersonal climate for learning when high schools use smaller learning communities with teacher teams and advisors. Students will find opportunities to exercise their own personal nonacademic talents when schools provide more diverse electives and extracurricular activities. Students will feel more connected to shared communal norms when high schools practice fair disciplinary procedures and provide for some shared decision-making. Different combinations and sequences of high school reforms are discussed in terms of implementation strategies and the interactions of the six dimensions of student motivation and engagement. High school reform can be aimed at either the external constraints and incentives for school improvement or the internal conditions for student engagement and learning. This chapter puts reforms of the internal conditions in the context of alternative strategies for improving American high schools and examines six different aspects of student engagement in high school and how specific internal reform efforts can activate and maximize each component.