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Half an hour of gardening has potential to combat ill health and improve wellbeing

Allotment gardening can play a key role in improving physical and mental wellbeing and could be used as a preventive health measure, say UK researchers.

The team from the universities of Westminster and Essex studied 269 people 136 allotment gardeners and 133 non-gardener controls from ten allotment sites in north west England.

Study participants, who came from a variety of social and economic backgrounds, completed a questionnaire before and after allotment sessions, including questions about self-esteem and enjoyment. Data on body mass index (BMI) were also collected.

The researchers found that just one 30-minute session of allotment gardening can result in significant improvements in both self-esteem and mood, due to reductions in tension, depression, anger and confusion.

The study also found that allotment gardeners had significantly lower BMI than those who did not participate in gardening 68% of the non-gardening group were overweight or obese compared with 47% of gardeners.

A session of gardening can improve mood and self-esteem, as well as lowering BMI

Picture credit: Alamy ...

The team from the universities of Westminster and Essex studied 269 people – 136 allotment gardeners and 133 non-gardener controls – from ten allotment sites in north west England.

Study participants, who came from a variety of social and economic backgrounds, completed a questionnaire before and after allotment sessions, including questions about self-esteem and enjoyment. Data on body mass index (BMI) were also collected.

The researchers found that just one 30-minute session of allotment gardening can result in significant improvements in both self-esteem and mood, due to reductions in tension, depression, anger and confusion.

The study also found that allotment gardeners had significantly lower BMI than those who did not participate in gardening – 68% of the non-gardening group were overweight or obese compared with 47% of gardeners.

A session of gardening can improve mood and self-esteem, as well as lowering BMI

Picture credit: Alamy

Lead study author Carly Wood, from the University of Westminster department of life sciences, said: ‘Health organisations and policymakers should consider the potential of allotment gardening as a long-term tool for combatting ill-health.

‘This preventive approach could result in substantial savings to the UK economy, particularly in the treatment of health conditions such as mental illness, obesity, cardiovascular disease and loneliness.’

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