Scoping review of the impacts of urban agriculture on the determinants of health
Abstract, BMC Public Health, 2019
There has been an increasing interest in urban agriculture (UA) practice and research in recent years. Scholars have already reported numerous beneficial and potential adverse impacts of UA on health-related outcomes. This scoping review aims to explore these impacts and identify knowledge gaps for future UA studies.
A systematic search was conducted in seven electronic bibliographic databases to identify relevant peer-reviewed studies. Articles were screened and assessed for eligibility. From eligible studies, data were extracted to summarize, collate, appraise the quality and make a narrative account of the findings.
A total of 101 articles (51 quantitative, 29 qualitative, and 21 mixed methods studies) were included in our final analysis. Among these articles, 38 and 37% reported findings from North America and Sub-Saharan Africa respectively. Quantitative studies revealed evidence of positive impacts of UA on food security, nutrition outcomes, physical and mental health outcomes, and social capital. The qualitative studies reported a wide range of perceived benefits and motivations of UA. The most frequently reported benefits include contributions to social capital, food security, health and/or wellbeing. However, the evidence must be interpreted with caution since the quality of most of the studies was assessed as weak to moderate. While no definitive conclusions can be drawn about the adverse impacts of UA on health, paying particular attention to contamination of UA soil is recommended.
More peer-reviewed studies are needed in areas where UA is practiced such as Latin America and Caribbean. The inconsistency and the lack of strong quality in the methodology of the included studies are proof that more rigorous studies are also needed in future research. Nevertheless, the substantial existing evidence from this review corroborate that UA can influence different determinants of health such as food security, social capital, health and well-being in a variety of contexts.
Electronic supplementary material
Keywords: Urban agriculture (UA), Determinants of health, Food, Health, Scoping review