Background: Community gardens can reduce public health disparities through promoting physical activity and healthy eating, growing food for underserved populations, and accelerating healing from injury or disease. Despite their potential to contribute to comprehensive patient care, no prior studies have investigated the prevalence of community gardens affiliated with US healthcare institutions, and the demographic characteristics of communities served by these gardens. Methods: In 2013, national community garden databases, scientific abstracts, and public search engines (e.g., Google Scholar) were used to identify gardens. Outcomes included the prevalence of hospital-based community gardens by US regions, and demographic characteristics (age, race/ethnicity, education, household income, and obesity rates) of communities served by gardens. Results: There were 110 healthcare-based gardens, with 39 in the Midwest, 25 in the South, 24 in the Northeast, and 22 in the West. Compared to US population averages, communities served by healthcare-based gardens had similar demographic characteristics, but significantly lower rates of obesity (27% versus 34%, P<. .001). Conclusions: Healthcare-based gardens are located in regions that are demographically representative of the US population, and are associated with lower rates of obesity in communities they serve.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Health Informatics
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health