Want your child to stay slim? Teach them GARDENING: Growing plants reduces childhood obesity, study finds

Spending time outdoors teaching your child how to garden could help them to stay healthy, a new study reveals.

Overweight children who take up gardening are more likely to lose weight in just one year, the study adds.

Schools that teach gardening have a smaller proportion of obese students, according to the researchers.

Lead author Dr Rachel Scherr, from the University of California, said: ‘The BMI and waist-to-height ratio were greatly improved in intervention groups, with the overweight or obese population declining from 55.6 to 37.8 per cent.

‘The dramatic decrease in BMI, although unexpected in this short time frame, demonstrated that [the programme] was effective due to positive health messages and reinforcing nutrition concepts throughout the school and home environments.’

Researchers from the University of California studied the impact of gardening lessons to children aged nine to 10-years-old at four schools in California.

The team studied 230 children who had been offered the lessons and 179 who had not over the course of one school year.

As part of the study, conducted under the Shaping Healthy Choices Programme (SHCP), students grew and harvested their own vegetables, which were then used in cooking demonstrations or taken home.

The produce served in the school canteen reflected the garden harvest, which was also featured in newsletters send homes to the children’s families.

Results, published in the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior, revealed that the gardening classes dramatically improved student’s health.

Gardening is thought to help children lose weight by teaching them more about healthy foods such as fresh vegetables, according to the researchers.

It also gives them the opportunity to take part in physical activity.

Lead author Dr Rachel Scherr, said: ‘The BMI and waist-to-height ratio were greatly improved in intervention groups, with the overweight or obese population declining from 55.6 to 37.8 per cent at the Northern California intervention school.

‘The dramatic decrease in BMI, although unexpected in this short time frame, demonstrated that the SHCP was effective due to positive health messages and reinforcing nutrition concepts throughout the school and home environments.’

Link Original: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-4488342/Gardening-helps-reduce-childhood-obesity-study-finds.html?ITO=applenews

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