July 23, 2013

Healthy Gardens, Healthy Lives


healthy_gardensEating a garden fresh salad, rather than a selection off the dollar menu, is clearly the healthier choice. A study published in Health Promotion Practice found that gardening to reduce the risk of diabetes has the added benefit of enhancing capital in Navajo communities.

Poor access to nutritious foods, the convenience of a modern diet, and reduced physical activity are associated with a rise in T2D among the Navajo communities, especially in the younger population.

Gardening can solve the lack  of  vegetables available to Navajo communities. In addition, gardening may offer many other social and health benefits. This study aimed to determine Navajo attitudes about gardening and health in New Mexico.

In 7 focus groups, 31 people were assessed for their attitudes and knowledge of gardening. With this information, researchers were able to uncover barriers and implement a successful gardening project.

The focus groups were led by 2 Navajo students and their conversations with the group were transcribed. Throughout the discussions, researchers revealed that many people in the community were aware of adverse health issues like diabetes and obesity.

The discussions also expressed how the community wishes to see  an educational approache that emphasizes cultural traditions such as respect for elders.

At the end of the study, it proves promising and exciting to see that Navajo communities are open to combat the issues of obesity and diabetes with the approach of cultivating healthy gardens. The added benefit may be a reduction in healthcare costs and a surplus in healthier food choices.

Visit Your Diabetes Health for more resources about health.