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Gardening Can Lead to Weight Loss, Study Reports

Update Date: Apr 19, 2013 10:26 AM EDT

Although gardening might be perceived as a hobby for older people, the younger generation might start picking up on this habit. A new study suggests that this hobby can in fact help promote overall health and well-being. Not only does gardening require different levels of physical activity, it also keeps gardener's plates healthy. According to the researchers from the University of Utah, women and men who are active gardeners tend to have smaller waistlines and healthier diets.

In this study, the researchers, headed by Cathleen Zick, professor of family and consumer studies, looked at the statistics of nearly 200 men and women who had an active garden plot for at least a year. They compared the body measurements of the gardeners and their neighbors who did not tend to a plot. Both groups of participants had the same access to park facilities and were relatively around the same economic statuses. The researchers discovered that for men who gardened, they were 62 percent less likely to be overweight or obese. For women, the percentage was 46. The researchers also reported that the average female who gardened stood at five foot five inches tall and weighted 11 pounds lighter than females who did not garden. For men who gardened, the average height was five foot 10 inches and weighed an average of 16 pounds lighter than a man who did not garden.

The researchers did not find any differences in genes between the two groups, which suggested that gardening was a huge contributor to their healthier body weights. However, the research team acknowledged the fact that they only looked into one community. Despite this fact, they believe that if this study were done in other areas, similar results would be found. The researchers added that not only would gardening help lower body weight due to activity, it could also lead to healthier diets. People who garden tend to consume their own plants and fruits, leading to a better overall diet than people who do not.

The study's findings suggest that people who are pressed between deciding to go to the gym and cooking might have an easier option, gardening. Although gardening is definitely not the same as gym exercise, it does have other benefits, such as diet control. Furthermore, gardening can benefit the whole family even if others are not participating in the actual hobby.

The study was published in the Journal of Public Health

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