The Influence of Gardening Activities on Reports of Health Problems, Allergies, and Body Mass Index
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In the last quarter century, the epidemic of overweight and obese Americans has increased strikingly. Obesity is far more perilous than most adults think because it disables and kills by substantially raising the risk of cardiovascular disease, dyslipidemia, hypertension, osteoarthritis, stroke, Type II diabetes, specific forms of cancer and other diseases. The main purpose of this research was to investigate the influence of gardening activities on activity levels, body mass index (BMI), allergies, and reported overall health of gardeners and non-gardeners. The survey used for this study consisted of five sections, which were modified from previous instruments and, all tested for validity by being shown to a panel of experts. The sample population was drawn from two sources: an online survey, which was posted for four months on social media websites and spread through word of mouth and an identical paper-pencil formatted survey, which was distributed to church, garden, and community service groups within Texas and parts of the Midwest. These paper-pencil survey groups were selected for participation based on their ease of accessibility and interest level in participating in the study. Participants were offered a free packet of wildflower seeds as an incentive to take part in the survey. Results from this study indicated non-gardeners were less physically active when compared to gardeners. Frequency of gardening did not have a statistically significant impact on gardeners’ BMI. There was no difference in BMI between gardeners and non-gardeners. Gardeners indicated having more frequently reoccurring symptoms for “Ear Infection/Ear Ache,” “High Cholesterol,” “Kidney Stone,” “Gallstones,” and “Arthritis,” indicating gardening may being used as a distraction therapy, helping gardeners to cope with pain and remain active when other forms of exercise may not be an option. There was no statistically significant difference in incidence of allergies between gardeners and non-gardeners, and there was a significant difference between annual household income and physical activity/exercise and BMI for gardeners.
body mass index
quality of life
Etheredge, Coleman L (2016). The Influence of Gardening Activities on Reports of Health Problems, Allergies, and Body Mass Index. Doctoral dissertation, Texas A & M University. Available electronically from