Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


School of Health and Society


physical activity and inform the further development of Health Promotion theory. It addresses two related research questions: 1. Do food gardens in schools have the potential to increase physical activity? 2. What advances to school setting Health Promotion theory can be made using structuration and institutional development approaches? A Mixed Methods case study was conducted using the methods of accelerometery, ethnographic observation, qualitative observation of video and time-lapse photography and interview data analysed thematically. Empirical data informed development of a concept of physical activity from a Health Promotion perspective and two theoretical models. Previous studies of food gardens in schools have reported changes in physical activity with the introduction of a garden program; a need remained to describe the physical activity of garden sessions and make comparisons across alternative school day sessions. This study confirmed that school food gardens are a site for physical activity and the physical activity of garden sessions varies. Three potentials for school food gardens to increase physical activity were identified: regular attendance; timetabling sessions to avoid high activity break times; and regulating the relative length of session duration for garden and kitchen components of the program. The study identified the variability between schools of garden sessions, especially in the comparison of garden sessions to the other school day segments. Local measures to increase physical activity from garden programs are evident but generalisations across school sites are not recommended. The importance of light intensity activity of 3-4 MET to total volume of physical activity was identified and it was noted a significant volume of movement goes unrecognised because of assumptions about intensity and its relationship to health outcomes.

FoR codes (2008)

160508 Health Policy, 130304 Educational Administration, Management and Leadership, 1117 PUBLIC HEALTH AND HEALTH SERVICES, 1106 HUMAN MOVEMENT AND SPORTS SCIENCE



Unless otherwise indicated, the views expressed in this thesis are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the University of Wollongong.