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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Arkansas Children's Hospital Research Institute


Gardening to Reduce Obesity and 
Other Risk Behaviors in Delta Children

Cooperating researchers at the Arkansas Children's Hospital Research Institute are using a school gardening program designed to increase students' school bonding (connection/association) to determine if it will increase physical activity and fruit/vegetable intake. Core curriculum developed for the study will meet the State of Arkansas frameworks for 6th through 8th grade science, health, and physical education. After initial pilot testing of the program in two schools (one intervention and one control school pair matched based on similarities in ethnicity, free/reduced lunch participation and prevalence of obesity), the program will be expanded statewide to 12 additional pair-matched schools to test the effectiveness of the gardening program for enhancing adherence to the Dietary Guidelines and reducing obesity and related chronic disease risk factors. Researchers anticipate that students who participate in the gardening program will be more strongly affiliated (bonded) with their school/teachers, will increase their fruit/vegetable intake and physical activity levels from the beginning to the completion of the program, and will have reduced social risk behaviors such as absenteeism.  Contact Dr. Judy Weber ( for additional information.







ACHRI Website:

Delta Garden Study Website:

Principal Investigator: Barry Brady

Project Leader:
Judith L. Weber, Lead 

2012 Research Personnel Included:

Leanne Whiteside-Mansell

Rachel Schichtl

Emily English

Page Moore

Andrew Carberry

Williams Edward

Liana Hardin

Kimberly Harris

Cale Nicholson

Ryan Norman

Katherine Quinn

James Robbins

Kent Thompson

Christopher Swearingen

Wendy Ward






Last Modified: 8/13/2016
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