Digging in for Weight Loss

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Story Updated: Apr 22, 2013

If you're looking for a way to get in shape this spring and summer, here's a power-packed activity that may surprise you Ð try community gardening!

That's right, research shows people who join in the fun of community gardening have much lower body mass index and are the recipients of social, physical and nutritional benefits. Researchers measured the BMI of community gardeners in Salt Lake City, Utah, gauging their odds of being overweight or obese. They then compared those results with similar data from three control groups.

Bottom line, women community gardeners had an average BMI that was nearly two points lower than their non-gardening neighbors That translates into an 11-pound weight difference for a woman 5 feet 5 inches tall. For men, the BMI was nearly two and a half points lower compared to non-gardeners a difference of 16 pounds for a guy 5 feet 10 inches tall.

Overall, gardeners were less likely to be overweight or obese.

The researchers say these results show that community gardens are a valuable tool that can be used to promote healthier living.

I'm Dr. Cindy Haines of HealthDay TV with the news doctors are reading health news that matters to you.

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Excellus BlueCross BlueShield, a nonprofit independent licensee of the BlueCross BlueShield Association, is part of a family of companies that finances and delivers vital health care services to 1.8 million people across upstate New York. Excellus BlueCross BlueShield provides access to high-quality, affordable health coverage, including valuable health-related resources that our members use every day, such as cost-saving prescription drug discounts and wellness tracking tools in our Step Up program. To learn more, visit www.excellusbcbs.com