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Green Fingers, Green Eaters: Gardening Leads to Weight Loss

You might see gardening as a complementary wellness measure; something that old people do to keep themselves busy and active in their twilight years, and connect to nature. However, according to a new study, published in the Journal of Public Health, younger people need to get on board with this hobby, as gardening can in fact help promote overall health and wellbeing – and even weight loss.

Researchers from the University of Utah have noted that not only does gardening require different levels of physical activity; it also keeps gardener’s plates healthy. Led by Cathleen Zick, professor of family and consumer studies, the researchers found that women and men who are active gardeners tend to have smaller waistlines and healthier diets. This is based on the statistics of nearly 200 men and women who had an active garden plot for at least a year. The researchers also compared the body measurements of the gardeners and their neighbours who did not tend to a plot, making sure that all participants had the same access to park facilities and had similar economic statuses.

The results of the study showed that men who gardened were 62% less likely to be overweight or obese, while women who acted likewise were 46% less likely. The study investigators also noted that women who gardened were, on average, five foot five inches tall and weighted 11 pounds less than females who did not garden, while the average man who gardened stood at five foot 10 inches and weighed an average of 16 pounds less than a man who did not garden.

There were no gene differences found between the two groups, and this indicates that gardening is a huge contributor to a healthier body weight. Not only does the level of activity help to lower body weight, but the researchers found that people who garden tended to consume their own plants and fruits, which lead to a better overall diet than people who do not. The study is somewhat limited by the fact that the research team only looked into one community, but the study authors assert that if this study were done in other areas, they would find similar results.


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This entry was posted on June 27, 2013 by and tagged , , .
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