A 12-week gardening, nutrition, and cooking randomized control trial improves determinants of dietary behaviors
Davis, J. N., Martinez, L. C., Spruijt-Metz, D., & Gatto, N. M. (2016). LA Sprouts: A 12-week gardening, nutrition, and cooking randomized control trial improves determinants of dietary behaviors. Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior, 48(1), 2-11.e1. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jneb.2015.08.009
OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the effect of an exploratory 12-week nutrition, cooking, and gardening trial (LA Sprouts) on preference for fruit and vegetables (FV); willingness to try FV; identification of FV; self-efficacy to garden, eat, and cook FV; motivation to garden, eat, and cook FV; attitudes toward FV; nutrition and gardening knowledge; and home gardening habits.
DESIGN: Randomized controlled trial.
SETTING: Four elementary schools.
PARTICIPANTS: Three hundred four predominately Hispanic/Latino third- through fifth-grade students were randomized to either the LA Sprouts group (n = 167 students) or control group (n = 137 students).
INTERVENTION: Twelve-week after-school nutrition, cooking, and gardening intervention.
MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Determinants of dietary behavior as measured by questionnaire at baseline and postintervention.
ANALYSIS: Analyses of covariance.
RESULTS: After the 12-week program, compared with controls, LA Sprouts participants improved scores for identification of vegetables (+11% vs +5%; P = .001) and nutrition and gardening knowledge (+14.5% vs -5.0%; P = .003), and were more likely to garden at home (+7.5% vs -4.4%; P = .003).
CONCLUSIONS: The LA Sprouts program positively affected a number of determinants of dietary behaviors that suggest possible mechanisms by which gardening and nutrition education act to improve dietary intake and health outcomes.