Objective: To assess the effects of a 12-week gardening, nutrition, and cooking intervention ("LA Sprouts") on dietary intake, obesity parameters, and metabolic disease risk among low-income, primarily Hispanic/Latino youth in Los Angeles.
Methods: The randomized controlled trial involved four elementary schools [two schools randomized to intervention (172 third-through fifth-grade students); two schools randomized to control (147 third-through fifth-grade students)]. Classes were taught in 90-minute sessions once a week to each grade level for 12 weeks. Data collected at pre- and postintervention included dietary intake via food frequency questionnaire (FFQ), anthropometric measures [BMI, waist circumference (WC)], body fat, and fasting blood samples.
Results: LA Sprouts participants had significantly greater reductions in BMI z-scores (0.1-vs. 0.04-point decrease, respectively; P = 0.01) and WC (-1.2 cm vs. no change; P < 0.001). Fewer LA Sprouts participants had the metabolic syndrome (MetSyn) after the intervention than before, while the number of controls with MetSyn increased. LA Sprouts participants had improvements in dietary fiber intake (+3.5% vs. -15.5%; P = 0.04) and less decreases in vegetable intake (-3.6% vs. -26.4%; P = 0.04). Change in fruit intake before and after the intervention did not significantly differ between LA Sprouts and control subjects.
Conclusions: LA Sprouts was effective in reducing obesity and metabolic risk.
© 2015 The Obesity Society.