Lifestyle Management

Impact of a Community Garden on Population Health

Most disease we as Americans experience is related to the Metabolic Syndrome. That is, our lifestyles, diet, exercise, mental health, combine to be the chief determinants in our health status. Elemental to the concepts of population health management is an emphasis on self-responsibility and both ability and opportunity to control, or at least significantly influence, these components contributing to the metabolic syndrome. 

Among the control factors, diet is at or near the top of the list for almost everyone. But, how can hospitals, health systems and others involved in treating disease exert systemic influence on population dietary decisions? We know from experience that healthcare providers regularly offer community education programs, and diet and nutrition are frequently on the class list. However, we also know these classes too often attract those already engaged in healthy behaviors or those who have been directed by their physicians to attend based on some particular diagnosis.

The challenge then is to communicate with and effect a greater population. The concept of Community Gardens is one such method whereby any community individual may participate in vegetable gardening that provides health knowledge, cost effective access to fresh vegetables and the opportunity to systemically influence individual and family diet and nutrition. 

This example, a case study, was prepared for a community group that will next present the findings to a health system to promote support for this innovative concept as a component of the health systems overall commitment to community health and population health management.  CLICK HERE TO REVIEW THE CASE STUDY PRESENTATION