Online Program

Planting seeds for social health: An examination of gardening by race/ethnicity among older adults

Tuesday, November 5, 2013 : 9:06 a.m. - 9:18 a.m.

Kathy Sykes, MA, Office of Research and Development, Division, Environmental Public Health, NHEERL, U.S. EPA, Washington, DC
Emily Nicklett, PhD, MSW, School of Social Work, University of Michigan, ann arbor, MI
Gardening, particularly the act of tending to a garden, offers various physical, psychological, and social benefits, largely stemming from increased physical activity, improved nutrition, more social engagement, and interaction with nature. However, there is little data on the benefits of gardening for older adults. Emerging findings suggest that gardening offers unique opportunities for older adults, who are at risk for physical inactivity and social isolation. Older adults are not at uniform risk of adverse aging outcomes, and some population groups could benefit from activities such as gardening more than others.

This study examines data from The Longitudinal Study of Generations, a longitudinal study (N = 2,804) spanning from 1971 to 2000. The sample represented 4 generations of families in California. This study examines the following issues: the extent to which participation in gardening differs by racial/ethnic group; the social correlates of gardening by race/ethnicity (e.g. gardening alone, in groups, with relatives, gardening with caregivers); (3) How these trends change over time; and (4) Whether or not gardening in certain social situations (e.g. with a child or with a friend) predict better outcomes for mental health and well-being over time.

Learning Areas:

Assessment of individual and community needs for health education
Environmental health sciences
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Public health or related public policy
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
Identify why gardening leads to improved social health among older adults Compare participation in gardening by race/ethnicity Examine how the social context in which older adults garden influence the benefits of gardening

Keyword(s): Community-Based Health Promotion, Food and Nutrition

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have received multiple federally funded grants to examine social characteristics that enhance older adult health and well being. In addition, I have published several manuscripts that examine racial/ethnic disparities in health and aging outcomes over time.
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.