Community gardens and their effects on diet, health, psychosocial and community outcomes: a systematic review

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BMC Public Health


Background: We systematically reviewed the effects of community gardens on physical and psychosocial health, health behaviors and community outcomes. Methods: Quantitative studies that examined associations of health, psychosocial or community outcomes with community gardens were included in the review. Studies up to December 2020 were captured from searches of Medline, Web of Science, PsycInfo, EBSCOHost and CAB Abstracts. Data were extracted and study quality including risk of bias was examined. Results: There were 53 studies that met the inclusion criteria. Studies examining associations between community gardens and nutrition or food security were most frequently reported (k = 23). Other factors examined for associations with community gardens were health (k = 16), psychosocial (k = 16) and community outcomes (k = 7). Effects appeared positive for fruit and vegetable intake, some psychosocial and community outcomes, but mixed for physical health outcomes. Evidence quality overall was low. Conclusions: Community gardening was associated with higher fruit and vegetable intake, positive psychosocial and community outcomes, but poor evidence quality suggests the effects of community gardening may be overestimated.

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