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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.