To nobody’s surprise, a new CDC study confirms what growing rates of childhood obesity and diabetes have already forewarned: kids aren’t eating nearly enough vegetables and fruits (if they’re eating them at all).
Just as bad, a majority of kids are regularly consuming sugary drinks, ultra-refined foods, and unhealthy snacks. The result: growing rates of childhood obesity, diabetes, dental problems and other health issues.
Fortunately, there’s something just about any parent can do that can help child and parent alike: gardening. Whether you’ve got some yard space for an in-ground or container garden, are working your share of a community garden, or even tending to one of the growing number of indoor gardening kids, the research is clear that parents who get their kids into gardening enjoy countless benefits, including:
Diet – Kids who grow greens are more likely to eat them, in part because they grew them and in part because homegrown vegetables taste much better than store-bought varieties. This, in turn, leads to leaner, healthier kids.
Appreciation – Gardening removes kids (and parents) from digital screens and teaches them the wonder of growing something edible from nothing more than a seed, soil, water and sun.
Responsibility – Kids are notoriously self-absorbed. The need to water, weed, and regularly check in on a garden teaches kids to take responsibility for something other than themselves.
Physical Health – Most of us fail to get nearly enough vitamin D, and getting out under the sun is a fantastic source. In fact, research shows that vitamin D strengthens bones, boosts the immune system, and lowers your risk of developing multiple sclerosis, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, prostate cancer, bladder cancer, breast cancer, and colorectal cancer.
Mental Healthy – Digging up soil releases microbes which stimulate serotonin which makes you feel happier and more relaxed – almost like we were programmed to garden / farm, eh?
The list goes on – there are literally dozens of benefits associated with gardening – but rather than read about it, get out there and do it!