Condition category
Nutritional, Metabolic, Endocrine
Date applied
Date assigned
Last edited
Retrospectively registered
Overall trial status
Recruitment status
No longer recruiting
Publication status

Plain English Summary

Not provided at time of registration

Trial website

Contact information



Primary contact

Prof Janet Cade


Contact details

Centre for Epidemiology and Biostatistics
Nutritional Epidemiology Group
Room 8.001 Worsley Building
University of Leeds
United Kingdom
+44 (0)113 343 6946

Additional identifiers

EudraCT number number

Protocol/serial number


Study information

Scientific title

Does the Royal Horticultural Society Campaign for School Gardening increase intake of fruit and vegetables in children? A cluster randomised controlled trial


DIG - Diet/Growing

Study hypothesis

Does a programme of practical, structured gardening education have an impact on the diet of children in Key Stage 2 (KS2 - aged 8 to 9 years)?

Ethics approval

Application pending to University of Leeds Research Ethics Committee as of 02/12/2009.

Study design

Cluster randomised controlled trial

Primary study design


Secondary study design

Randomised controlled trial

Trial setting


Trial type

Quality of life

Patient information sheet

Not available in web format, please use the contact details below to request a patient information sheet


Improving children's diet


The intervention package is the RHS Campaign for School Gardening. There are two main levels at which schools can be involved - more intensive and less intensive:

More intensive intervention:
Involves support from the RHS Regional Schools Advisor (RA). The role of the RA is to help schools develop a successful garden, work directly with teachers and pupils to give them support and practical advice. They are also charged with trying to help schools overcome particular barriers to developing gardening within schools. RA have the expertise and experience to tie in gardening and growing activities with the National Curriculum and to run staff training sessions for teachers.

Less intensive intervention:
Schools do not have direct support from the Regional Advisor but do have access to training from teachers in the partner (more intensive) schools in twilight teacher training sessions. They will be able to have e-mail contact with the RA and access to the RHS resources on the Internet as well as potential for a one-off training event at the school. This less intensive education package will be available for schools in trial 1 and trial 2.

The comparison schools in trial 2 will not be provided with additional support regarding growing fruit and vegetables. However, it is recognised that most schools will be engaging in some activity around this topic. Baseline evaluation of the schools will assess the level of active engagement with growing by these schools.

The nature of the intervention allows schools to tailor their engagement with the intervention according to their needs. We will monitor which activities are undertaken by the schools during the growing year and assess, through process measures, how compliant schools have been with the different aspects of the intervention undertaken. Schools in the study will be encouraged to keep a diary of the activities they undertake as part of the intervention and complete a questionnaire detailing these activities. The process measures will allow us to identify aspects of the Campaign which have influenced the effectiveness of the activities.

Our previous work with school interventions has shown a high level of follow up at 75%, meaning that likely loss to follow up will be in the region of 3 - 4 schools and 150 - 200 children. This has been taken into account in our recruitment strategy.

Intervention type



Not Applicable

Drug names

Primary outcome measure

Daily portions of fruit and vegetable eaten, measured between January 2010 and April 2010 and again between September 2011 and December 2011.

Secondary outcome measures

1. Intake of key nutrients (measured between January 2010 and April 2010 and again between September 2011 and December 2011):
1.1. Total energy intake (MJ/day)
1.2. Fat intake (g/day)
1.3. Salt intake (g/day)
1.4. Intake of sugars (g/day)
1.5. Carotene intake (mg/day)
1.6. Vitamin C intake (mg/day)
2. Behavioural: Children's attitude to fruit and vegetable consumption - using a validated psychological questionnaire. Measured between January 2010 and April 2010 and again between September 2011 and December 2011.
3. School level: Involvement of schools in promoting consumption of fruit and vegetables (number of lessons devoted to school gardening and growing or learning about fruit and vegetables, school food policy, resources, involvement in other national/local food related initiatives)
4. Involvement by schools of parents in promoting consumption of fruit and vegetables among pupils
5. Process measures concerning the practicality of the intervention, timing, delivery, used and not used elements of the intervention, measured between January 2010 and July 2011.

Overall trial start date


Overall trial end date


Reason abandoned (if study stopped)


Participant inclusion criteria

Both trials:
1. Primary maintained schools in the London government region with classes in key stage 2 (years 3 - 6)
2. A minimum year group size of 15 pupils
3. Pupils aged 8 - 9 years, either sex

Trial 1:
1. Meet all of the above criteria
2. Have signed up to take part in the RHS Campaign for School Gardening
3. Have undertaken the benchmarking process

Trial 2:
1. Meet all of the above criteria (for both trials)
2. Have not signed up to take part in the RHS Campaign for School Gardening by the time of randomisation of schools in trial 1

Participant type


Age group




Target number of participants

58 schools (2900 pupils)

Participant exclusion criteria

Both trials:
1. Independent schools
2. Special schools
3. Schools without all 4 year groups (3 - 6)
4. Small schools with less than 15 pupils/year group
5. Schools that have previously participated in externally supported school growing projects

Recruitment start date


Recruitment end date



Countries of recruitment

United Kingdom

Trial participating centre

Centre for Epidemiology and Biostatistics
United Kingdom

Sponsor information


National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) (UK)

Sponsor details

Room 132 Richmond House
79 Whitehall
United Kingdom

Sponsor type




Funder type


Funder name

National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) (UK) - Public Health Research (PHR) Programme (ref: 0000601794)

Alternative name(s)

Funding Body Type

Funding Body Subtype


Results and Publications

Publication and dissemination plan

Not provided at time of registration

Intention to publish date

Participant level data

Not provided at time of registration

Basic results (scientific)

Publication list

2012 protocol in:
2013 results in:

Publication citations

  1. Protocol

    Christian MS, El Evans C, Conner M, Ransley JK, Cade JE, Study protocol: can a school gardening intervention improve children's diets?, BMC Public Health, 2012, 12, 304, doi: 10.1186/1471-2458-12-304.

  2. Results

    Christian MS, Evans CE, Hancock N, Nykjaer C, Cade JE, Family meals can help children reach their 5 a day: a cross-sectional survey of children's dietary intake from London primary schools., J Epidemiol Community Health, 2013, 67, 4, 332-338, doi: 10.1136/jech-2012-201604.

Additional files

Editorial Notes