Gardening Can Save Your Life

Medscape Staff

March 03, 2023

People who garden experience many health benefits, including easing of stress and anxiety and a lowering of the risk for various illnesses, according to researchers from the Department of Environmental Studies at the University of Colorado Boulder and the University of South Carolina's Cancer Prevention and Control Program.

What to Know

  • Those who garden tend to be a healthier weight, exercise more, and eat more fibrous fruits and vegetables, which reduces risk for cancer and improves heart health.

  • The communal aspect of the activity could also play an important role in preventing cancer and chronic diseases and reducing stress and mental health disorders.

  • Researchers recruited nongardening study participants, giving them a free community garden plot, some seeds and seedlings, an introductory gardening course and monitored their nutritional intake and mental health for 1 year.

  • Within 6 months, the new gardeners were averaging two to three visits to the community garden a week, eating on average 1.4 g more fiber per day, had upped their physical activity by around 42 minutes per week, and saw their stress and anxiety levels decrease.

  • Community gardening can also build social connections within communities and offer a space for people to share their growing techniques, recipes, and culture, which help establish relationships and a sense of community.

This is a summary of the article, "Effects of a Community Gardening Intervention on Diet, Physical Activity, and Anthropometry Outcomes in the USA (CAPS): An Observer-Blind, Randomised Controlled Trial," published in The Lancet Planetary Health on January 10, 2023. The full article can be found on

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