Instead of playing gardening games on your smart phone, maybe you should try doing it for real. A recent study on says that community gardening may lower your body mass index (BMI), and significantly reduce your chances of becoming overweight and obese.

Cathleen Zick, lead author of the study, and her colleagues from the University of Utah came to this conclusion by checking the BMIs of three groups: the first consisted of unrelated people living in the same neighborhood; the second was composed of siblings of the same gender; and the third consisted of “married spouses of the gardeners.”

The results revealed that female gardeners were 46 percent less likely to be obese, while male gardeners were 62 percent less likely to be obese. A significant difference was also noted in same sex siblings. Women who did gardening had a BMI 1.88 lower than their sisters, while men had a BMI 1.33 lower than their brothers.

For spouses of gardeners, there didn’t appear to be any difference in BMI at all—an expected result as researchers figured that the spouses would have certainly benefitted from the garden produce.

Zick notes, “We know obesity is costly. This study begins to shed light on the costs and benefits of the choices families make about eating and physical activity.”

(Photo by Sarah Cady via Flickr Creative Commons)

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