Allotment gardeners reap healthy rewards

November 22, 2010

People who have an allotment, especially those aged over 60, tend to be significantly healthier than those who do not. Researchers writing in BioMed Central's open access journal Environmental Health have shown that the small gardens were associated with increased levels of physical activity at all ages, and improved health and well-being in more elderly people.

Agnes van den Berg, from Wageningen University and Research Centre, the Netherlands, worked with a team of researchers to carry out a study into the benefits of allotment gardening. She said, "Taken together, our findings provide the first direct empirical evidence for health benefits of allotment gardens. Having an allotment garden may promote an active life-style and contribute to healthy aging".

Allotments are small plots of land given to community residents to garden fruits and for personal consumption and recreation. The researchers polled 121 gardeners and 63 of their neighbors who did not have allotments. During the peak gardening times of the Summer months, those with allotments carried out an extra day's physical activity every week. For the over-60s, perceived general health, stress levels and GP consultations were all significantly improved. Speaking about the results, van den Berg said, "Around the world, allotment gardens are increasingly under pressure from building and infrastructure developments. Considering that allotments may play a vital role in developing active and healthy lifestyles, governments and local authorities might do well to protect and enhance them".

More information: Allotment gardening and health: a comparative study among allotment gardeners and their neighbors without an allotment Agnes E Van den Berg, Marijke Van Winsum-Westra, Sjerp De Vries and Sonja ME Van Dillen Environmental Health (in press), www.ehjournal.net/

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Women's sexual orientation linked to (un)happiness about birth

December 11, 2017
Unhappiness about a pregnancy or birth has been associated with negative health outcomes for mothers and babies. Yet, unhappiness about a pregnancy or birth has been understudied, particularly among sexual minority (non-heterosexual) ...

Social media trends can predict tipping points in vaccine scares

December 11, 2017
Analyzing trends on Twitter and Google can help predict vaccine scares that can lead to disease outbreaks, according to a study from the University of Waterloo.

Health warnings on cigarettes could deter young people

December 11, 2017
Young people are less likely to try cigarettes with the printed health warning 'Smoking kills' on each stick than standard cigarettes, according to a new study by Cancer Research UK published in Nicotine & Tobacco Research.

Multiple health implications of women's early marriage go beyond early childbearing

December 11, 2017
A new study of four South Asian countries reveals complex associations between early marriage and women's education, health and nutrition that go beyond the impacts of early childbearing. These health implications—which ...

Over 50s with fewer than 20 teeth at higher risk of musculoskeletal frailty

December 11, 2017
New research by scientists at King's College London has found that tooth loss may contribute to musculoskeletal frailty in the over 50s, with those with fewer than 20 teeth being at greatest risk.

Poor sleep could lead to heavier drinking in young adults, study finds

December 8, 2017
A shortened night of sleep may increase young adults' risk of heavier drinking, according to a new Yale study that assessed reciprocal variations in sleep and drinking over time in young adults.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.