Author(s): Berezowitz CK, Bontrager Yoder AB, Schoeller DA
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Abstract 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. © 2015, American School Health Association.
This article was published in J Sch Health
and referenced in Journal of Health Education Research & Development