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P098 Changes in Availability of Healthy Food in Homes of Participants in TX Sprouts, a School-Based Gardening, Nutrition, and Cooking Program

      Objective

      To evaluate the effects of a school-based gardening, nutrition, and cooking intervention (TX Sprouts) compared to control on the availability of vegetables and sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) at home.

      Use of Theory or Research

      TX Sprouts was based on the social ecological-transactional model with a goal of empowering children to make positive changes in their family environments.

      Target Audience

      Children ages 7-11 attending public schools serving primarily low-income, Hispanic children and their families.

      Program Description

      TX Sprouts includes building an edible garden at the school and teaching 18 in-school gardening, nutrition, and cooking lessons to all 3rd-5th grade students. Lessons focused on increasing vegetables and decreasing SSBs.

      Evaluation Methods

      In a randomized-controlled trial, 16 schools were randomly assigned to TX Sprouts or control (i.e., delayed intervention) for one academic year. Parents completed a 7-item survey about the availability of vegetables and SSBs in the home at pre and post. Analyses of variance tests were used to evaluate the changes in home vegetable and SSB availability (composite score and individual questions) between intervention and control, adjusted for child's age, ethnicity, and SNAP participation.

      Results

      The analytic sample included 895 children (n = 414 intervention, n = 481 control) whose parents completed the survey at baseline and endpoint. The intervention resulted in a significant improvement in the overall availability of healthy food (more vegetables, fewer SSBs) in the home when compared to the control (composite score change 0.29 vs. -0.24; P = 0.012). When examining individual questions in the survey, families receiving the intervention significantly improved home availability of fresh vegetables (0.03 vs. -0.1; P = 0.039).

      Conclusions

      A gardening, nutrition, and cooking program delivered to children in schools can benefit children by increasing healthy food in the home environment.

      Funding

      NIH; Whole Kids Foundation; Home Depot; Sprouts Healthy Communities

      SUPPLEMENTARY DATA

      Supplementary data related to this article can be found at https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jneb.2022.04.138.

      Appendix. SUPPLEMENTARY DATA