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School gardening activities and Obesity
School gardening activities (SGA) combined with physical activities (PA) may improve childhood dietary intake and prevent overweight and obesity. This study aims to evaluate the effect of SGA combined with PA on children’s dietary intake and anthropometric outcomes. We searched studies containing randomized controlled trials up to January 2021 in Web of Science, PubMed, Cochrane Library, and the EBSCO database on this topic for children aged 7 to 12 years.
Childhood obesity is a public health priority and its prevalence and economic burden have been steadily increasing worldwide . In the past three decades, the detection rate of childhood obesity in the United States has tripled, and the rate of adolescent obesity detection has increased by four times . Related reports showed that in the past 20 years, the body mass index (BMI) of children and adolescents aged 6 to 17 in China has increased by 11.1% for overweight and 7.9% for obesity . Childhood obesity is strongly associated with adult obesity . It not only has an impact on children’s physical and mental health, as well as their social abilities, but it is also the primary risk factor for metabolic syndrome, cardiovascular- and cerebrovascular-related chronic diseases , and death in adulthood .
Public institutions have developed and implemented several strategies to prevent obesity in children, including school gardening activities (SGA) and physical activities (PA). SGA, known as a “learning laboratory”, is a way based on Social Cognitive Theory (SCT) to teach students’ skills through fun hands-on activities, selecting the school as the intervention site and using gardening as a key component is a promising approach to addressing healthy eating and student’s weight status . In school gardens where students grow edible produce, they generally learn science and nutrition concepts relevant to growing food while they work in the garden, which enhances students’ positive modeling of fruits and vegetables and increases their preference for these foods as well as their fruit and vegetable intakes (FVs) . According to Molitor and Doerr , children who learn healthy eating habits at a young age are more likely to maintain these habits throughout their life. Children at a young age must develop healthy eating habits for their future health . Some scholars have used SGA to successfully improve children’s FVs and their intake preferences , but the opinions on the effects of SGA on weight are divided . Scientific PA is an effective way to reduce BMI, body fat, and serum Chemerin in obese children, and also controls their blood pressure . Short-term or long-term moderate-to-high intensity physical activity (MVPA) has been related to increased blood flow to the brain and neurotransmitter levels, as well as enhanced attention, motor skills, physical fitness, executive function, and social skills, and improved mental health in children . Extracurricular PA is also considered closely during the study process, since the short time of school physical education may be occupied by other key courses . However, the research shows that extracurricular PA has mixed effects on improving children’s obesity . Considering that each SGA and PA intervention was proven to be effective, theoretically, combining SGA with PA might improve children’s eating habits and increase the amount of PA to reduce obesity more effectively.
BMI, body mass index z-score (BMI z-score), and WC are commonly used to measure anthropometric characteristics and stratify the risk for overweight and obesity in adults and children . BMI and WC are easily obtainable and have proved to be strong predictors of metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular disease in adults and children . Many scholars of the United States and other developed countries have used SGA to explore its impact on children’s BMI and other anthropometric outcomes . Therefore, we systematically reviewed and meta-analyzed the effects of SGA on anthropometric outcomes of school-age children (7–12 years old), gathering experimental information on BMI and WC changes in SGA and other interventions. Additionally, we undertook an SR on the impact of SGA and PA on the motivation and preference of fruits and vegetables and anthropometric outcomes of school-age children (7–12 years old). This work can provide clinicians, teachers, and policymakers with robust evidence on the efficacy of SGA combined with PA as a comprehensive intervention model to improve children’s obesity, providing an important countermeasure to deal with childhood obesity.
The entry is from 10.3390/nu13082605
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