School yard interventions may improve metabolic parameters such as blood sugar and cholesterol in children, according to a new study from UTHealth Houston.
In a cluster-randomized controlled trial conducted by researchers at the UTHealth Houston School of Public Health and the University of Texas at Austin, Texas Sprouts, a gardening, nutrition, and cooking intervention administered in elementary schools in Austin, improved glycemic control and reduced blood sugar levels. It has been found to reduce cholesterol. High-risk minority youth. The result is today JAMA network open.
“The American Dietary Guidelines recommend 2.5 cups of vegetables per day for children ages 9 to 13,” said senior author of the study, The Michael & Susan Dell Center for Biostatistics and Data. Adriana Pérez, Ph.D., Professor of Science, said. UTHealth for Healthy Living at Houston School of Public Health. “Texas Sprouts incorporate elements of nutrition, gardening and cooking to improve blood sugar control and reduce bad cholesterol in children.”
Between 2016 and 2019, researchers analyzed 16 low-income elementary schools in the Austin metropolitan area, which has a majority Hispanic student population. Schools were randomly assigned to either the Texas Sprout intervention or the delayed intervention.
Texas Sprouts spanned a nine-month school year and were involved in forming a garden leadership committee. Quarter acre outdoor educational garden. A series of lessons in gardening, nutrition and cooking for his 18 students taught by trained educators throughout the school year. 9 parent lessons each month. Delayed interventions were implemented the following school year and received the same interventions.
In addition to the student’s height, weight, and body mass index (BMI) parameters, the team used glucose, insulin, insulin resistance, and a lipid panel (a blood test that measures the amount of specific fat molecules known as lipids in the blood). ) was measured. — by optional fasting blood sampling.
Compared with control schools, the Texas Sprout schools had a 0.02% reduction in HbA1c or mean blood glucose and a 6.4 mg/dL reduction in bad cholesterol over the past three months. this population. There were no intervention effects on glucose, insulin, insulin resistance, or other lipid parameters.
Based on the research results, Perez said more elementary schools should incorporate garden-based interventions.
“A small increase in fiber and vegetable intake and a reduction in sugar intake may have a synergistic effect on lowering bad cholesterol and improving blood sugar control.
Other co-authors of the UTHealth Houston School of Public Health Austin Campus include Deanna M. Hoelscher, Ph.D., RDN, Dean of the Campus, and Director of the Michael & Susan Dell Center for Healthy Living. Alexandra E. van den Berg, Ph.D., MPH, Professor of Health Promotion and Behavioral Sciences and Deputy Director of the Center.
Additional co-authors with the University of Texas at Austin were Jaimie N. Davis, Ph.D., RD. Matthew J. Landry, PhD, RDN. Sarvenaz Vandyousefi, Ph.D., MS, RD. Matthew R. Jeans, MS, MM. and Erin A. Hudson. Landry is at Stanford University, Vandyousefi is at New York University School of Medicine, and Jeans is at The Health Management Academy in Virginia.
Effects of school-based nutrition, gardening, and cooking interventions on metabolic parameters in high-risk youth, JAMA network open (2023). DOI: 10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2022.50375
Courtesy of the University of Texas at Houston Health Science Center
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