Impact of a Gardening and Physical Activity Intervention in Title 1 Schools: The TGEG Study

Alexandra Van Den Berg, Judith L. Warren, Alex McIntosh, Deanna Hoelscher, Marcia G. Ory, Christine Jovanovic, Michael Lopez, Lisa Whittlesey, Alice Kirk, Caren Walton, Lisako McKyer, Nalini Ranjit

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Background: The purpose of the Texas!Grow!Eat!Go! (TGEG) study was to assess individual and combined effects of school-based gardening and physical activity (PA) interventions on children's eating and PA behaviors and obesity status. Methods: Using a 2 × 2 design, 28 low-income schools in Texas were randomized to 1 of 4 conditions: (1) School Garden intervention (Learn!Grow!Eat!Go! [LGEG]), (2) PA intervention (Walk Across Texas [WAT!]), (3) both Garden and PA intervention (Combined), or (4) neither Garden nor PA intervention (Control). Participants included 1326 third grade students and parents (42% Hispanic; 78% free/reduced lunch). Student and parent data were collected at the beginning and end of the school year. Two different sets of analyses measuring pre-post changes in outcomes within and across conditions were estimated by factorial ANOVAs using mixed models adjusted for demographics. Results: Main effect analyses indicate that relative to children at schools that did not receive LGEG, children at schools that received LGEG, either individually or in combination with WAT!, showed significant increases in Nutrition knowledge, Vegetable preference, and Vegetable tasted (p < 0.001 in all cases). Within-group analyses show that compared to Comparison, children in the WAT! group significantly increased in the amount of time parents and children were active together (p = 0.038). In addition, children in LGEG and WAT! schools significantly decreased BMI percentile (p = 0.042, p = 0.039, respectively), relative to children in Comparison schools. Conclusions: Both the garden and PA interventions independently produced significant changes related to healthy lifestyle behaviors. However, combining the two interventions did not show greater impact than the single interventions, underscoring the need for more research to determine how to better implement comprehensive interventions at schools.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)S44-S54
JournalChildhood Obesity
Issue numberS1
StatePublished - Aug 2020


  • dietary intake
  • ethnic disparities
  • physical activity
  • school intervention
  • weight status

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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