Thursday, January 26, 2023

Gardening, a new health promotion strategy

Physical inactivity or unhealthy diet have been known for years to be important modifiable risk factors for chronic diseases. Some studies suggest that these actions may be superior to nature-based community interventions. Thus, a test done by University of Boulder in Colorado (USA) concluded that community gardening (places where people farm collectively) can reduce these common health risks in a diverse adult population.

Funded by the American Cancer Society, this is the first randomized controlled trial of community gardening, which recruited people on waiting lists for community gardens in Denver and Aurora (USA) See the benefits of this activity for health.

Specifically, the analysis published in The Lancet Planetary Health looked at the effect of Community gardening on diet, physical activity and psychosocial outcomes in adults of varying ages, ethnicities and socioeconomic status and found that those who started gardening consumed more fiber and were more physically active, two known ways to reduce cancer and chronic disease risk. Similarly, it was observed that their level Significantly reduced stress and anxiety,

“These findings provide strong evidence that community gardening can play a role Important role in prevention of cancer, chronic diseases and mental health disorders,” said the study’s lead author, Jill LittProfessor in the Department of Environmental Studies at the University of Colorado, Boulder.

The essay makes it clear that community garden interventions can be considered part of community strategies including nature-based social prescription Reduce risk factors for cancer and chronic diseases and, more broadly, to address health and wellness.

bridging the research gap

Jill Litt, who is also a researcher Barcelona Institute for Global Healthspent most of his career reduce the risk of diseaseespecially among low-income populations.

Gardening seemed like a perfect place to start, as he explained, “No matter where you go, people say there’s something about gardening that makes them feel better”.

However, solid science on its benefits is hard to find.

,Without evidence, it’s hard to get support for new programs.”

Various observational studies have found that people who cultivate gardens tend to eat more fruits and vegetables and have a healthier weight, But it was unclear whether gardening affects health and community gardening in particular because none of the studies focused on that area.

To fill the gap, Litt recruited 291 non-horticultural adults, average age 41, from the Denver area. More than a third were Hispanic and more than half came from low-income households.

After last spring frost, half was allocated community gardening group and the other half to the control group Who was asked to wait for a year to start gardening.

The gardening group received a free community garden plot, some seeds and plants, and an introductory gardening course through the non-profit Denver Urban Gardens program.

both groups surveyed them from time to time nutritional intake and mental health, In addition, they took body measurements and used equipment to monitor their activity.

increase fiber intake

In the fall, people in the gardening group ate an average of 1.4 grams more fiber per day than those in the control group, a an increase of about 7 percent.

The researchers noted that fiber serves a Profound effects on inflammatory and immune responsesWhich affects everything from how we metabolize food, how healthy our gut microbiome is, to how susceptible we are to diabetes or certain types of cancer.

while doctors advise around 25 to 38 grams of fiber per dayThe average adult consumes less than 16 grams.

“One gram of fiber can increase great positive effect on health”, emphasizes James Hebert, director of the Cancer Control and Prevention Program at the University of South Carolina.

gardening group too their physical activity levels increased by about 42 minutes per week, Public health agencies recommend getting at least 150 minutes of physical activity a week, a recommendation met by only a quarter of the US population. With just two or three weekly visits to a community garden, participants met 28 percent of that requirement.

On the other hand, study participants also saw a reduction in their stress and anxiety levelsAnd people who entered the study more stressed and anxious showed a bigger reduction in their mental health problems.

The study also confirmed that even the most novice gardeners can Get Measurable Health Benefits In his first season with this activity. As they become more experienced and enjoy higher returns, Litt suspects these benefits will increase.

relationships flourish

Social connectivity also increases. And it’s that as Litt explained, if you go to a garden to grow your own food in a cool place, relationships flourish Since you share technology with your plot neighbor as well as recipes and conversations.

“It’s not just about fruits and vegetables. It’s also about being in a natural outdoor space with others”

To conclude, Lit highlights that It is hoped the study’s findings will encourage health professionals and politicians Seek community gardens and other places that encourage people to come together in nature as an important part of the public health system. And the proof is clear.

Nation World News Desk
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