Journal of Obesity & Weight Loss Therapy
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The enormity of the problem of childhood obesity requires that effective, innovative prevention and intervention strategies
be developed for the future health and success of our Country. Recently, the formation of the first-ever US federal task force
began to address this childhood obesity epidemic, with one of the key pillars being making healthy foods more affordable and
accessible for families, and uses gardening as a primary vehicle to engage the public. However, few well-designed experimental
studies exist that rigorously evaluate the impact of garden-based nutrition interventions on obesity and related metabolic disorders
specifically in high-risk youth populations. The goal of this study is to conduct a school-garden-based randomized nutrition
and gardening intervention, utilizing a garden built on school campus, lessons taught during and after school program and
family workshops to improve dietary intake and reduce obesity and related metabolic disorders in Latino children (8-11 years).
Two regions, each with two elementary schools (90% Latino) were randomized into either: 1) LA sprouts (12-week after school
gardening/nutrition classes + bi-monthly family workshops; two schools, n=163 students); or 2) Control (delayed intervention;
two schools, n=134 students). The intervention compared to the control group had significant reductions in BMI (-4% vs. +1%;
P=0.007) BMI z-scores (-13% vs. -3%; P=0.008), and waist circumference (-2% vs. +1; P<0.001). The intervention compared to
the control group also had significant improvements in dietary intake (i.e., vegetable and dietary fiber intake) and related dietary
behaviors (i.e., preference, motivation, and self efficacy to eat fruits and vegetables).
Jaimie N. Davis is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Nutritional Sciences, at UT-Austin. She has her Ph.D. in Nutritional Sciences and
is a Registered Dietitian. Her research focuses on designing and disseminating nutrition, physical activity, and behavioral interventions to reduce
obesity and related metabolic disorders in overweight minority youth. She has a strong background in nutrition, physical activity, body composition
assessment, and metabolic testing in pediatric populations. She has written numerous papers examining the role that dietary intake, specifically
added sugar and dietary fiber, plays on adiposity and metabolic profiles in overweight Latino children.
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