Effect of gardens & gardening on human health
Old News Archive
This page is an archive of older news stories (sourced internationally) that previously appeared on the front page. You might find these references useful if you're researching the benefits of gardening or exposure to nature on human mental or physical health and wellbeing.
If links to media releases no longer work, you might still be able to use the information to locate the original research papers.
Check the Front Page for the most recent news items, or if you're interested in plants or horticulture in Queensland
Recently released results of a psychological study suggest greener neighborhoods may improve children's brains. 11-year-olds living in urban areas of England were assessed. Even after allowing for socio-economic factors associated with neighbourhoods, more greenspace was correlated with better spatial working memory. This cognitive function records and processes information about an individual's surroundings and is related to attention control. It's also correlated with academic achievement. While this study couldn't prove that the environment directly caused the better memory performance, it points the way to further research and another possible benefit of more parks and gardens in cities. Source: Greener neighborhoods may be good for children's brains. Full report: The role of neighbourhood greenspace in children's spatial working memory (September, 2018)
Status of a study's participants living near vacant lots in Philadelphia, USA were recorded before and after the lots received different levels of rehabilitation. Those within a quarter-mile radius of greened spaces averaged a 41.5% reduction in feelings of depression compared to those near lots that remained abandoned. A basic clean-up of trash without addition of grass and trees had no effect. Full report: Effect of Greening Vacant Land on Mental Health of Community-Dwelling Adults JAMA Network Open (July, 2018)
Horticultural therapy promising for the aged
Elderly women who took part in a 15-week gardening program showed improvement in physical health and mental function while nonparticipants declined, a South Korean study shows. Satisfaction with the program as a physical activity was very also very high. Source: The many health benefits of gardening for elderly women (October, 2016)
Gardens make you feel better than balconies
In Austria, 811 people across a wide age range were questioned about their restorative value of their private lounges, terraces, balconies and gardens. Gardens were rated significantly better than balconies or terraces, with the restorative value increasing with the number of "natural elements" present in the garden. Age or gender made no difference, but the reported effectiveness of gardens did depend on the individual's ability to switch off from their worries and having a positive relationship with their gardens. "The message is that you should design your garden to be as close to nature as possible but, above all, you should enjoy it." A second study is further investigating the health-promoting effects of private gardens as well as more communal gardens. Source: Public Health Study: private gardens are more restorative than lounges (April, 2016)
UQ investigates office greenery
A collaboration between the University of Queensland and several international universities has studied the effects of plants in offices. The results suggest that increases in worker happiness and productivity will make the investment in office greenery worthwhile. Source: Leafy-green better than lean (September, 2014)
Childhood obesity intervention with gardens
A study of English children has shown that those in lower educated households, or those in higher educated households located in disadvantaged neighborhoods, that have no access to a garden between the ages of 3-5 years have an increased risk of obesity by age 7. Source: Study from England shows no garden access for young children linked to childhood obesity later in childhood (September, 2015)