Systematic Review: The Health Benefits and Harms of Gardening Among the Elderly


CHP/PCOR Adjunct Affiliate
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Allison Gienger

This meta-analysis evaluated the extent to which gardening among elderly adults is associated with specific health outcomes, including exercise capacity, body weight, serum lipids, fasting serum glucose and insulin, blood pressure, mental status, and gardening-related orthopedic injuries and exposure to infectious diseases. Searches of eight databases, including: PubMed, PsychInfo, AgeLine, ToxLine, Ovid, ERIC, CAB, and Cinhal resulted in identification of over 6,000 articles. Roughly 180 met criteria for full data abstraction.  Of these 180 articles that underwent full abstraction, about 30 met the inclusion criteria.  Results suggested that gardening interventions increase people's consumption of fruits and vegetables, both in the elderly and in children.  Data about harms and other health outcomes have been analyzed. Two poster presentations were delivered to the Bay Area Research symposium.