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from the Dutch;Allotment gardeners reap
November 23, 2010--Allotments are small
plots of land given to community residents
in Holland to garden fruits and vegetables
for personal consumption and recreation.
People who have an allotment, especially
those aged over 60, tend to be significantly
healthier than those who do not.
Researchers writing in BioMed Central's open
access journal Environmental Health have
shown that the small gardens were associated
with increased levels of physical activity
at all ages, and improved health and
well-being in more elderly people.
Agnes van den Berg, from Wageningen
University and Research Centre, the
Netherlands, worked with a team of
researchers to carry out a study into the
health benefits of allotment gardening.
She said, "Taken together, our findings
provide the first direct empirical evidence
for health benefits of allotment gardens.
Having an allotment garden may promote an
active life-style and contribute to healthy
The researchers polled 121 gardeners and 63
of their neighbors who did not have
During the peak gardening times of the
Summer months, those with allotments
out an extra day's physical activity every
week. For the over-60s, perceived general
health, stress levels and GP consultations
were all significantly improved. Speaking
about the results, van den Berg said,
"Around the world, allotment gardens are
increasingly under pressure from building
and infrastructure developments. Considering
that allotments may play a vital role in
developing active and healthy lifestyles,
governments and local authorities might do
well to protect and enhance them".