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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(1), 71; doi:10.3390/ijerph14010071

Health Benefits of Urban Allotment Gardening: Improved Physical and Psychological Well-Being and Social Integration

1
Department of Urban Engineering, School of Engineering, The University of Tokyo, 7-3-1, Hongo, Bunkyo, Tokyo 113-8656, Japan
2
Environment and Sustainability Institute, University of Exeter, Penryn, Cornwall TR10 9FE, UK
3
Forestry and Forest Product Research Institute, Matsunosato 1, Tsukuba 305-8687, Japan
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Paul B. Tchounwou
Received: 20 October 2016 / Revised: 21 December 2016 / Accepted: 6 January 2017 / Published: 12 January 2017
(This article belongs to the Section Global Health)
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Abstract

With an ever-increasing urban population, promoting public health and well-being in towns and cities is a major challenge. Previous research has suggested that participating in allotment gardening delivers a wide range of health benefits. However, evidence from quantitative analyses is still scarce. Here, we quantify the effects, if any, of participating in allotment gardening on physical, psychological and social health. A questionnaire survey of 332 people was performed in Tokyo, Japan. We compared five self-reported health outcomes between allotment gardeners and non-gardener controls: perceived general health, subjective health complaints, body mass index (BMI), mental health and social cohesion. Accounting for socio-demographic and lifestyle variables, regression models revealed that allotment gardeners, compared to non-gardeners, reported better perceived general health, subjective health complaints, mental health and social cohesion. BMI did not differ between gardeners and non-gardeners. Neither frequency nor duration of gardening significantly influenced reported health outcomes. Our results highlight that regular gardening on allotment sites is associated with improved physical, psychological and social health. With the recent escalation in the prevalence of chronic diseases, and associated healthcare costs, this study has a major implication for policy, as it suggests that urban allotments have great potential for preventative healthcare. View Full-Text
Keywords: agriculture; community health; ecosystem services; extinction of experience; green infrastructure; health promotion; nature experiences; urban greenspace; urbanisation; well-being agriculture; community health; ecosystem services; extinction of experience; green infrastructure; health promotion; nature experiences; urban greenspace; urbanisation; well-being
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Soga, M.; Cox, D.T.C.; Yamaura, Y.; Gaston, K.J.; Kurisu, K.; Hanaki, K. Health Benefits of Urban Allotment Gardening: Improved Physical and Psychological Well-Being and Social Integration. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14, 71.

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