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Evidence on the contribution of community gardens to promote physical and mental health and well-being of non-institutionalized individuals: a systematic review

Author(s)

LAMPERT Tarsila, et al

Publisher(s):

Plos Publications

Objectives: To synthetize the literature about physical and mental health outcomes associated with community gardening. Two main questions were addressed: a) is there evidence, from quantitative studies, that community gardening is associated to physical and mental health and well-being of non-institutionalized individuals? b) Does community gardening provokes any discomfort in terms of physical health, i.e., bodily pain, to their beneficiaries? Methods: A systematic review of the literature was carried out following PRISMA guidelines by searching relevant electronic databases (PubMed, Scopus, and Web of Science). Empirical, quantitative studies published in English with no restrictions concerning the date of publication were considered eligible. The quality of the evidence was appraised using the tool developed by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health for Observational Cohort and Cross-Sectional Studies. Results: Overall, 8 studies were considered eligible, of which seven studies were rated as having good methodological quality (one scored as fair). Community gardeners had significantly better health outcomes than their neighbours not engaged in gardening activities in terms of life satisfaction, happiness, general health, mental health, and social cohesion. Conclusion: Community gardens are associated to health gains for their users, irrespective of age, being an affordable and efficient way of promoting physical and mental health and well-being. To encourage the design, maintenance, and prospective evaluation of supportive urban environments promoting healthy and, at the same time, sustainable lifestyles, is essential to achieve public health gains and environmental sustainability. (Edited publisher abstract)


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