Online Program

Impact of a master gardener program on health outcomes among middle-aged and older adults: A pilot study

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

SangNam Ahn, PhD, MPSA, Division of Health Systems Management and Policy, The University of Memphis School of Public Health, Memphis, TN
Christopher Cooper, Ph.D., Shelby County, UT Extension, Memphis, TN
Matthew Lee Smith, PhD, MPH, CHES, Department of Health Promotion and Behavior, Workplace Health Group, University of Georgia, Athens, GA
Marcia Ory, PhD, MPH, Health Promotion and Community Health Sciences, Texas A&M HSC School of Rural Public Health, College Station, TX
Background. Gardening activities have been identified as a way to improve energy balance, physical health, and mental health. Since 1998, the Tennessee Master Gardener program has trained more than 400 local community members to help their peers solve home gardening problems. Nevertheless, there are few studies testing the effectiveness of Master Gardener programs to improve body mass index (BMI), perceived status, gardening self-efficacy among middle-aged or older adults.

Methods. A survey was administered to identify factors associated with BMI among Master Gardener Program participants (n=63). Covariates included three types of gardening-related self-efficacy, unhealthy days (physically or mentally), PHQ2 depression, and sociodemographics. Robust ordinary least squares regression models were used to identify correlates of higher BMI.

Results. Approximately 30% of respondents were obese, and another 24% were overweight. One quarter of participants had PHQ2 depression scores equal to or greater than 2 (representing a high chance of having a depressive disorder). Higher gardening self-efficacy (Coef=0.33, P=0.012) and PHQ2 depression equal to or greater than 2 (Coef=3.32, P=0.009) was associated with higher BMI scores; whereas having very good (Coef=-6.15, P<0.001) and excellent (Coef=-9.55, P<0.001) perceived health was associated with lower BMI scores.

Conclusion. These findings suggest that enrolling in the local gardening programs may help middle-aged and older adults with higher BMI improve their health and well-being.

Learning Areas:

Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
List factors associated with body mass index (BMI) among middle-aged or older participants in the Master Gardener program in the Greater Memphis area. Assess the effects of the 15-week courses of the Master Gardener Program on BMI, gardening self-efficacy, physical health, and mental health. Identify essential elements needed when trying to create evidence-based community gardening programs to improve body mass index among middle-aged or older adults.

Keyword(s): Obesity, Community Programs

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have studied in obesity issues among older adults by generating more than 20 quality peer review journal articles.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.

Back to: 4256.3: Health Promotion and Aging