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.


Additional Resources

The Resources below were featured in the Texas Grow! Eat! Go! Research Project.

Junior Master Gardener – JMG is an international youth gardening program that ignites a passion for learning, success, and service through a unique gardening education.

Walk Across Texas! –  WAT is a FREE, 8 week program designed to help Texans establish the habit of regular physical activity. Since 1996, thousands of Texans have participated in Walk Across Texas!

CATCH – Coordinated Approach to Child Health

Impact of school-based vegetable garden and physical activity coordinated health interventions on weight status and weight-related behaviors of ethnically diverse, low-income students: Study design and baseline data of the Texas, Grow! Eat! Go! (TGEG) cluster-randomized controlled trial
Evans, A., Ranjit, N., Hoelscher, D., Jovanovic, C., Lopez, M., McIntosh, A., Ory, M., Whittlsey, L., McKyer, L., Kirk, A., Smith, C., Walton, C., Heredia, N. I., Warren, J. (2015, September 13).
Using Family-Focused Garden, Nutrition, and Physical Activity Programs To Reduce Childhood Obesity: The Texas! Go! Eat! Grow! Pilot Study
Erica, C. Spears-Lanoix, MA. E., Lisako, J., McKyer, PhD, MPH., Evans, A, PhD, MPH., McIntoch, W, PhD., Ory, M, PhD, MPH., Whittlesey, L, MS., Kirk, A, MPH., Hoelscher, M, PhD, LD, RD., Warren, L,, PhD. (2015, December). Using Family-Focused Garden, Nutrition, and Physical Activity Programs To Reduce Childhood Obesity: The Texas! Go! Eat! Grow! Pilot Study. Retrieved from
The Influence of Organizational Culture on School-Based Obesity Prevention Interventions: A Systematic Review of the Literature
Fair, Kayla N., Williams, K.D., Warren, J., McKyer, L., and Ory, M. (2018, June). The Influence of Organizational Culture on School-Based Obesity Prevention Interventions:  A Systematic Review of the Literature. Journal of School Health. Vol. 88, No. 6, 462-473.