Research Behind the Scenes
Texas Grow! Eat! Go! is a 5 year school garden, nutrition, and physical activity intervention study targeting childhood obesity among third-grade students in 28 Title 1 schools. The study evaluated a child-obesity-prevention model based on the Coordinated Approach to Child Health (CATCH). CATCH was enhanced by two Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service programs: Walk Across Texas, and Junior Master Gardener. Each Extension program improved the physical activity and eating behavior of children- both of which are associated with healthy weight. The home environment was targeted through the two Extension programs delivered by teachers but support by local Extension agents and volunteers such as Master Gardener and Master Wellness volunteers, who could provide a strong family and community connection necessary to sustain the model.
A randomized, controlled trial study was designed to a team of Extension Specialists and researchers from Texas A&M University and the TAMU and University of Texas Schools of Public Health. The study was funded by a grant from the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, an agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (Grant 68001-30138, 2011-2016).
Data collected from children and parents include behavioral parameters such as dietary intake, physical activity, sedentary behaviors, and gardening. It also included psychosocial variables related to these four behaviors along with knowledge, demographics and child body mass index. Process evaluation data was collected from teachers, parents, school, administrative staff, and Extension agents.