LA Sprouts: A Gardening, Nutrition and Cooking Intervention for Latino Youth Improves Diet, Reduces Obesity and Increases Motivation and Preferences for Fruits and Vegetables
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 27, 2010
Researchers from the University of Southern California and the University of California, Los Angeles recently completed a garden-based after school nutrition and gardening pilot study, “LA Sprouts”, with 104 predominately Latino 4th and 5th grade LAUSD students in Los Angeles. The 12-week LA Sprouts program was developed to include weekly gardening, nutrition and cooking lessons and was taught at the Milagro Allegro Community Garden in the northeast LA neighborhood of Highland Park. Using data collected before and after the intervention program, researchers examined its effect on body mass index (BMI), body fat, blood pressure, dietary intake and related behaviors (i.e., motivation, self-efficacy, preferences and attitudes about fruits and vegetables). The pilot intervention resulted in significant improvements in measures of health, dietary intake and food preferences, and is the first study of its kind to have evaluated obesity-related parameters.
Compared to their classmates who did not participate in the intervention and served as control students, LA Sprouts participants had significantly decreased diastolic blood pressure, and tended to gain less weight. Among the overweight students, participants in LA Sprouts had less weight gain than overweight control participants, and there was a significant difference in the change in BMI between groups.
In dietary measures, LA Sprouts participants had a significant increase in dietary fiber intake and tended to have greater vegetable intake. Specifically, LA Sprouts intervention participants had increases in a preference for pears, carrots and nopales, and the overweight LA Sprouts participants had a 16% greater increase in their overall preference for vegetables compared to overweight controls. Furthermore, this trend for increased overall vegetable preference was also seen in LA Sprouts participants in a more acculturated subgroup and in females students compared to controls. LA Sprouts participants also had a greater change in their perceptions of their ability to cook and garden.
Results from this pilot study are very promising given the improvements in dietary intake and behaviors, and the reduction in the rate of weight gain in overweight participants. We expect that our gardening, nutrition and cooking intervention with a longer duration would be even more effective for obesity prevention.
Results will be presented in two-peer reviewed journal publications
JN Davis et al. submitted to Journal of the American Dietetic Association
NM Gatto et al. submitted to International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity
Funding for LA Sprouts was provided by a Community Benefit Grant from Kaiser Foundation Hospital Los Angeles, Childhood Obesity Research Center (CORC) at USC and the Cypress Park Neighborhood Council.
For a copy of a press release summarizing these findings, please see our “Results of LA Sprouts Program”
For original LA Sprouts press release, see: http://hpgarden.org/?p=487
Lauren Cook, Project Manager
Childhood Obesity Research Center University of Southern California
- Jaimie Davis, PhD, RD
Assistant Professor, USC
- Nicole Gatto, MPH, PhD
Assistant Research Professor, UCLA