Research out of the US is suggesting that school gardens could lead to healthier lifestyles in students. Below are stories on two such studies. We here in Canada are starting to see the same evidence emerge but it’s going to be important to capture this in Canadian schools.
Gardens at School Might Boost Availability of Vegetables at Home
Having a garden at school might influence whether vegetables are available to children at home, a forthcoming study in Preventive Medicine finds.
Home fruit and vegetable availability is a strong determinant of how much people eat them, and fruit and vegetable consumption in turn is associated with a number of improved health outcomes, including reduced risk of developing certain types of cancer and cardiovascular disease. But research finds kids don’t eat nearly enough fruits and vegetables. Between 2007 and 2010, 93 percent of kids didn’t meet the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Patterns vegetable intake recommendations, according to a 2014 report published by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Between 2007 and 2010, 93 percent of kids didn’t meet the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Patterns vegetable intake recommendations, according to a 2014 report published by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Researchers at Cornell University, Washington State University, Iowa State University and University of Arkansas hypothesized that exposure to fruits and vegetables through school gardens might have carryover effects beyond the classroom. The study was a randomized, controlled trial conducted from 2011 to 2013 involving nearly 3,000 children at 46 elementary schools where at least half of students qualified for free or reduced-price meals. The schools were located in Arkansas, Iowa, New York and Washington state.
About half of the schools received raised bed or container garden kits and related, grade-appropriate lessons. The other schools received no intervention. READ MORE
By Chloe Reichel
Can Teaching Kids to Cook Make Them Healthier Later in Life?
New research suggests that learning how to cook as a young person leads to better eating practices—and better health—later in life.
It’s a hot afternoon in late May and Sierra Sutton, Risa Luk, and Sissi Mesa, all seniors at the High School for Environmental Studies in Manhattan, are roasting trays of broccoli and potatoes to serve for lunch at the Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen. The meal is the culmination of a year-long, in-school food course developed by the Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture in Tarrytown. The primary aim is to educate kids about the complex workings of the food system and how they can help to change it. The course also aims to teach students a little something about cooking, nutrition, and food budgeting—once the purview of the home economics classes offered across the U.S.
A continuing epidemic of obesity among Americans of all ages—affecting nearly 20 percent of children age 6 to 19 and almost 40 percent of adults—has led food advocates such as Michael Pollan, Salt, Sugar, Fat author Michael Moss, and the late Anthony Bourdain to call for a return to home ec for everyone. Teach them how to feed themselves well, the reasoning goes, and you’ll give them the tools to stay healthy into and throughout adulthood. It’s a logical enough premise, and one that informs a growing number of cooking classes that have been springing up around the country. But until earlier this year, there was no concrete scientific evidence that it works. READ MORE
July 30, 2018