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Table 2 Summary of included quantitative studies (n = 18)

From: A systematic review of the health and well-being impacts of school gardening: synthesis of quantitative and qualitative evidence

First author (year)
Publication type
Study design Country Type of schools Sample size (baseline) Sample characteristics Intervention group (duration) Comparison or control group Outcomes (health and well-being only)
Block (2012)a [24]
Journal paper
Non-randomised controlled Australia Primary 764 children (reported as 770 in Block et al. 2009)
562 parents
8–12 years
54 % girls
Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Program (45–60 min in garden class & 90 min in kitchen class/week for 12+ mnths) No intervention (but Gibbs et al. reported that some children were exposed to some gardening and cooking activities) Child quality of life
Block (2009)a [25]
Report
Willingness to try new foods
Gibbs (2013)a [26]
Journal paper
Willingness to try new foods
Food and beverage intakes including FV
Brouwer (2013) [27]
Journal paper
Cluster RCT USA Pre-school 12 children 3–5 years Watch Me Grow (weekly activities for four months) No intervention (delayed) FV served and consumed
Christian (2014) (1) [28]
Journal paper: Trial 1
Cluster RCT UK Primary 1138 children (reported as 1256 in the journal paper) For two groups respectively:
Mean 8.2/8.1 year
50/51 % boys
30/35 % White British (diverse)
Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) led gardening activities (18 months with regular support visits and termly teacher training sessions from RHS) Teacher led gardening activities (18 months with termly teacher training sessions from RHS) Vegetable intake
Fruit intake
Food group and essential nutrient intakes
Christian (2014) (2) [9]
Report: Trial 1
As above plus:
FV knowledge
Attitudes towards FV
Christian (2014) (2) [10]
Report: Trial 2
Cluster RCT UK Primary 1391 children For two groups respectively:
Mean 8.3/8.2 years
52/48 % boys
23/17 % White British (diverse)
Teacher led gardening activities (15 months with termly teacher training sessions from RHS) No intervention Vegetable intake
Fruit intake
Food group and essential nutrient intakes
FV knowledge
Attitudes towards FV
Cotter (2013) [22]
Journal paper
Cluster RCT Portugal NR 155 10–12 years Aromas school gardening club (2 h/week for 6 months) plus regular lectures on the dangers of high salt intake Regular lectures on the dangers of high salt intake Body Mass Index (BMI)
Waist circumference
Blood pressure (SBP/DBP)
Urinary sodium
Urinary creatinine
Estimated salt intake
Wells (2014) [23]
Journal paper
Cluster RCT USA Elementary 285 8–12 years Healthy Gardens, Healthy Youth pilot program: gardening activities plus curriculum of 20 lessons (1 year) No intervention (control group received gardens at the end of the study) Physical activity
Cotugna (2012) [27]
Journal paper
Non-randomised controlled USA Elementary 359 Age or gender not reported;
For A/B/C respectively: 73/41/37 % White
37/34/38 % low income
Gardening education program (duration unknown) first time in School B and second time in School C No intervention (School A) Students who chose salad for lunch
Davis (2011) [28]
Journal paper
Non-randomised controlled USA Elementary 107 (reported as 104 in Davis et al. 2011) 9–11 years
59 % overweight or obese
For two groups respectively:
Mean 9.7/9.9 years
38/59 % boys
97/93 % Latino
LA Sprouts: cooking and nutrition lessons plus gardening activities (90 min per week for 12 weeks) No intervention Body Mass Index (BMI)
Waist circumference
Total body fat
Blood pressure (SBP/DBP)
Vegetable intake
Fruit intake
Food group and macronutrient intakes
Gatto (2012) [29]
Journal paper
Motivation to eat FV
Attitudes, preferences and perceptions relating to cooking FV
Jaenke (2012) [15]
Journal paper
Non-randomised controlled Australia Primary 127 Fifth and sixth grade students
11–12 years
54 % boys
Nutrition education: How do you grow? (3 h over 10 weeks) plus gardening: How does your garden grow? (180 min per week for 10 weeks) Nutrition education only: How do you grow? (3 h over 10 weeks)
No intervention
Willingness to taste vegetables
Taste ratings of vegetables
Fruit intake
Vegetable intake
Morgan (2010) [30]
Journal paper
Fruit intake
Vegetable intake
Ability to identify vegetables
Willingness to taste vegetables
Taste ratings of vegetables
FV knowledge
Quality of school life
McAleese (2007) [16]
Journal paper
Non-randomised controlled USA Elementary 122 10–13 years
Mean 11.1 years
44 % boys
Nutrition education: Nutrition in the garden, plus gardening (12 weeks) Nutrition education only: Nutrition in the garden (12 weeks)
No intervention
Fruit intake
Vegetable intake
Vitamin A intake
Vitamin C intake
Fibre intake
Meinen (2012) [31]
Journal paper
Non-randomised controlled USA Elementary schools and early childhood sites 404 youth
567 parents
7–13 years
54 % boys
For two groups respectively:
Mean 9.9/10.1 years
Majority/88 % White
Youth gardening program: Got Dirt? (4 months) No intervention Willingness to try new FV
Like/dislike of FV
Knowledge of FV
FV consumption
Morris (2001) [32]
Journal paper
Non-randomised controlled USA Elementary 97 First grade students Nutrition education plus gardening (8 months) No intervention Nutrition knowledge
Willingness to taste vegetables
Taste ratings of vegetables
Morris (2002) (1) [33] Journal paper Non-randomised controlled USA Upper elementary 215 (reported as 213 in journal paper) 9–10 years
8.4 % African American
3.0 % Asian American
17.2 % Hispanic
66.5 % White
In-class nutrition education including hands-on gardening activities (9 lessons over 17 weeks) In-class nutrition education only (9 lessons over 17 weeks)
No intervention
Nutrition knowledge
Vegetable preference
Morris (2002) (2) [34]
Report
O’Brien (2006) [35]
Journal paper
Non-randomised controlled USA Elementary 38 9–10 years
50 % boys
71 % White
After school gardening club (8 lessons with 30 min gardening over 10 weeks) No intervention Nutrition knowledge
FV preference
FV consumption self-efficacy
FV consumption expectations
Parmer (2009) [37]
Journal paper
Non-randomised controlled USA Elementary 115 70 % boys
For three groups mean respectively:
7.3/7.5/7.4 years
46/27/28 % girls
Nutrition education plus gardening (1 h alternating nutrition education and gardening for 28 weeks) Nutrition education only (1 h every other week for 28 weeks)
No intervention
FV knowledge
FV preferences
FV consumption
Parmer (2007) [36]
Dissertation
Ratcliffe (2011) [38]
Journal paper
Non-randomised controlled USA Middle 320 11–13 years
22 % African American
29 % Asian American
9 % Filipino American
30 % Latino
3 % Pacific Islander
7 % White or other
35 % overweight
64 % low income
Garden-based learning activities integrated into science class (20 min instruction and 40 min hands-on gardening per week for 4 months) Covered the same health and science objectives but did not include a gardening program Vegetable knowledge
Vegetables preferences
Willingness to taste
Vegetable consumption
Robinson (2005) [39]
Journal paper
Non-randomised controlled USA Elementary 281 Third, fourth and fifth grade students (no further info) School gardening curriculum: Texas Agricultural Extension Service (varied intensity over one school year) No intervention (until after study period) Life skills: working with groups; self-understanding; leadership; decision making; communication; volunteerism
Waliczek (2001) [17]
Journal paper
Non-randomised controlled USA Elementary and junior high 589 8–15 years
43 % boys at post-test
Project GREEN school garden program (Spring semester) No intervention Interpersonal relationships
  1. aalso included for qualitative findings (see Table 3); FV fruits and vegetables
  2. FV fruits and vegetables, SBP systolic blood pressure, DBP diastolic blood pressure
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