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Talks at Twelve: Nancy Wells, Thursday, April 24, 2014

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School Gardens: Examining Effects on Children's Diet and Physical Activity
Nancy Wells, Design & Environmental Analysis, Cornell University

Thursday, April 24, 2014
12:00-1:00 PM
Beebe Hall, 2nd floor conference room


This talk is open to all. Lunch will be served. Metered parking is available in the Plantations lot across the road from Beebe Hall.

In recent years, school gardens have garnered considerable attention for their potential to promote healthy habits and combat childhood obesity. Yet relatively little research has examined the effects of school gardens on children’s health and health behaviors. In her talk Dr. Wells describes a 2-year, 4-state research and Cooperative Extension partnership employing a randomized controlled trial to assess how school gardens affect diet, physical activity and related outcomes. Forty-eight schools in Iowa, Arkansas, New York and Washington were randomly assigned to receive the garden intervention or to be in the wait-list control group that received gardens at the end of the study. Her findings provide insight regarding the role of school gardens as a public health intervention strategy.

Nancy Wells earned a joint Ph.D. in Psychology and Architecture from the University of Michigan and completed a National Institute of Mental Health post doctorate in the School of Social Ecology at the University of California, Irvine before joining the Cornell faculty in 2001. As an environmental psychologist, Dr. Wells studies the effects of the built and natural environment on human health and health behaviors. Her studies have examined the effects of housing quality on mental health; the influence of neighborhood design on walking; and the effects of nature views on cognitive functioning and psychological well-being. Dr. Wells leads the research component of the USDA-funded Healthy Gardens, Healthy Youth study and is Principle Investigator of several related studies examining the effects of gardens on diet, physical activity, and related outcomes.

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