overview: A new study reveals that community gardening can help reduce stress and anxiety and reduce cancer risk. Researchers found that those who gardened had higher fiber intake and increased physical activity.
sauce: University of Colorado
Exercise more. Eat right. make new friends.
Compiling a list of solutions aimed at improving physical and mental health in 2023, new CU Boulder research suggests one addition can have a powerful impact: gardening. doing.
The first randomized controlled trial of community gardening, funded by the American Cancer Society, found that people who started gardening consumed more fiber and got more physical activity. These are two known ways to reduce the risk of cancer and chronic disease. I also found that my stress and anxiety levels dropped significantly.
The findings were published in the journal on January 4th. Lancet Planetary Health.
“These findings provide concrete evidence that community gardening can play an important role in the prevention of cancer, chronic disease, and mental disorders,” said senior author, CU Boulder Department of Environmental Studies. Professor Jill Ritt says:
Bridging research gaps
Litt has spent much of her career identifying affordable, scalable and sustainable ways to reduce the risk of disease, especially among low-income communities.
Gardening seemed like the ideal place to start.
“Wherever you go, they say there is something about gardening that makes you feel good,” said Litt, who is also a researcher at the Barcelona Institute for Global Health.
But hard science about its benefits is hard to come by. Without evidence, it’s hard to get support for new programs, she said.
Some small observational studies have found that people who garden tend to eat more fruits and vegetables and have a healthier weight. It is unclear whether this is a trend or whether gardening affects health.
Only three studies applied the gold standard of scientific research, randomized controlled trials, to recreation. No one paid particular attention to community gardening.
To fill the gap, Litt recruited 291 non-gardening adults of average age 41 from the Denver area. More than one-third of her are Hispanic, and more than half come from low-income families.
After the last spring frost, half were assigned to the community gardening group and half to the control group.
Gardening groups received free community garden plots, seeds and seedlings, and an introductory gardening course through the nonprofit Denver Urban Gardens program and research partners.
Both groups were regularly surveyed about their nutritional intake and mental health, underwent physical measurements, and wore activity monitors.
By fall, people in the gardening group were eating an average of 1.4 grams more fiber per day than the control group. This is an increase of about 7%.
The authors note that fiber has a profound impact on inflammatory and immune responses, influencing everything from how food is metabolized to the health of the gut microbiota to diabetes and susceptibility to certain cancers. I’m here.
Doctors recommend about 25-38 grams of fiber per day, but the average adult consumes less than 16 grams.
“Each extra gram of fiber can have a significant positive impact on your health,” says co-author James Hebert, director of the University of South Carolina’s Cancer Prevention and Control Program. .
The gardening group also increased their physical activity level by about 42 minutes per week. Public health agencies recommend at least 150 minutes of physical activity per week, which meets only a quarter of her US population. Attendees met 28% of the requirement by just visiting the community garden two to three times each week.
Study participants also found their levels of stress and anxiety decreased, and those who participated in the study saw the greatest reduction in mental health problems.
The study also confirmed that even novice gardeners can reap the measurable health benefits of recreation in the first season. Litt believes such profits will increase.
The findings of the study do not surprise Linda Appel Lipsius, executive director of Denver Urban Gardens (DUG). Denver Urban Gardens (DUG) is his 43-year-old non-profit organization that helps approximately 18,000 people grow their own food on local garden plots each year.
“It’s transformative and even life-saving for so many people,” Lipsius said.
Many DUG participants live in areas with extremely limited access to affordable fresh fruits and vegetables. Some low-income immigrants now live in apartments. Having a garden plot allows you to grow your native food and pass on traditional recipes to your family and neighbors.
The social connections are also huge.
“Even if you come to the garden to grow your own food in a quiet place, you see your neighbor’s plans and start sharing techniques and recipes, and over time a relationship develops,” Litt said. . is good for you, but community gardening may have additional benefits. “It’s not just about fruits and vegetables. It’s also about being outside in natural spaces with other people.”
Litt says the findings will help health professionals, policy makers and land planners use community gardens and other spaces that encourage people to gather in nature as an important part of the public health system. He said he hopes that he will look to The evidence is clear, she said.
Researchers from the Colorado School of Public Health, Colorado State University, and Michigan State University also contributed to the study.
About this mental health and cancer research news
author: Lisa Marshall
sauce: University of Colorado
contact: Lisa Marshall – University of Colorado
image: image is public domain
Original research: open access.
“The Impact of Community Gardening Interventions (CAPS) on Diet, Physical Activity, and Anthropometric Outcomes in the United States: An Observer-Blinded, Randomized Controlled Trial.” Jillrit et al. Lancet Planetary Health
Impact of Community Gardening Interventions on Diet, Physical Activity, and Anthropometric Outcomes (CAPS) in the United States: An Observer-Blinded Randomized Controlled Trial
Unhealthy diet, physical inactivity and social disconnection are important modifiable risk factors for non-communicable diseases and other chronic diseases that can be mitigated by nature-based community interventions. We tested whether community gardening interventions could reduce these common health risks in adult populations diverse in terms of age, ethnicity and socioeconomic status.
In this observer-blind, randomized controlled trial, individuals on the Denver Urban Garden waiting list for community gardens in Denver and Aurora (Colorado, USA), who were at least 18 years of age and had not gardened in the past two years. was recruited. Participants were randomly assigned (1:1) and used randomized block designs with block sizes of 2, 4, or 6 to receive a community garden plot (intervention group) or remain on the waiting list. , was assigned to (control group) instead of garden. Researchers were masked to group assignments. Primary outcomes were diet, physical activity, and anthropometric measurements. Secondary outcomes were perceived stress and anxiety. During spring (April to early June, pre-randomization; time point 1 [T1]), autumn (late August to October, point 2) [T2]), and winter (January to March, post-intervention; time point 3 [T3]), participants completed three dietary recalls, a 7-day accelerometer, survey, and anthropometric measurements. Analyzes were performed using the intent-to-treat principle (that is, including all participants randomly assigned to groups and assessed as randomized). Mixed models were used to test the intervention time hypothesis at an α level of 0.04 using T2 and T3 intervention effects at an α level of 0.04 (99.5% CI). Due to the potential impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on our results, we excluded all participant data collected after February 1, 2020. This study is registered with ClinicalTrials.gov, NCT03089177, and data collection is now complete.
Between 1 January 2017 and 15 June 2019, 493 adults were screened, 291 completed baseline measurements, and were placed in the intervention (n=145) or control (n=146) groups. were randomly assigned to. Mean age was 41.5 years (SD 13.5); of 291 participants, 238 (82%) were female, 52 (18%) were male, 99 (34%) were Hispanic, and 191 (66%) were non-Hispanic. 237 (81%) completed measurements before the start of his COVID-19 pandemic. One person in the intervention group (<1%) の参加者は、庭で有害なアレルギーイベントを起こしました。 有意な介入時間効果が繊維摂取量で観察され (p=0.034)、T2 でのグループ間の平均差 (介入マイナス対照) は 1 日あたり 1.41 g (99.5% CI –2.09) でした。中等度から激しい身体活動 (p=0.012) で、グループ間の平均差は 1 日あたり 5.80 分 (99.5% CI –4.44 ～ 16.05) ）。 果物と野菜の合計摂取量、健康的な食事指数 (健康的な食事指数-2010 を使用して測定)、座りっぱなしの時間、BMI、および胴囲 (すべて p>0.04), no significant interaction was observed for each intervention time. A difference score model showed a greater reduction in perceived stress and anxiety in intervention group participants than in control group participants between T1 and T2.
Community gardening offers nature-based solutions that are accessible to a wide variety of people, including new gardeners, and can improve health outcomes and ameliorate important behavioral risk factors for noncommunicable and chronic diseases. increase.
American Cancer Society, University of Colorado Cancer Center, University of Colorado Boulder, National Institutes of Health, USDA, Michigan Food and Agriculture Research AgBioResearch Hatch project.