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The impact of urban gardens on adequate and healthy food: a systematic review

  • Mariana T Garcia (a1), Silvana M Ribeiro (a1), Ana Claudia Camargo Gonçalves Germani (a2) and Cláudia M Bógus (a1)



To examine the impacts on food and nutrition-related outcomes resulting from participation in urban gardens, especially on healthy food practices, healthy food access, and healthy food beliefs, knowledge and attitudes.


The systematic review identified studies by searching the PubMed, ERIC, LILACS, Web of Science and Embase databases. An assessment of quality and bias risk of the studies was carried out and a narrative summary was produced.


Studies published as original articles in peer-reviewed scientific journals in English, Spanish or Portuguese between 2005 and 2015 were included.


The studies included were based on data from adult participants in urban gardens.


Twenty-four studies were initially selected based on the eligibility criteria, twelve of which were included. There was important heterogeneity of settings, population and assessment methods. Assessment of quality and bias risk of the studies revealed the need for greater methodological rigour. Most studies investigated community gardens and employed a qualitative approach. The following were reported: greater fruit and vegetable consumption, better access to healthy foods, greater valuing of cooking, harvest sharing with family and friends, enhanced importance of organic production, and valuing of adequate and healthy food.


Thematic patterns related to adequate and healthy food associated with participation in urban gardens were identified, revealing a positive impact on practices of adequate and healthy food and mainly on food perceptions.

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