Aime Sommerfeld, Amy McFarland, Tina Waliczek and Jayne Zajicek said studies show poor nutrition is one of several factors responsible for mortality and morbidity in the elderly and is comparable to deaths caused from cigarette smoking.
The researchers collected data via an online survey was posted on a Web site for one month -- 261 questionnaires were completed by adults age 50 and older.
"Our results support previous studies that indicated gardeners were more likely to consume vegetables when compared with non-gardeners. Interestingly, these results were not found with regard to fruit consumption," Waliczek said in a statement.
The research also showed the length of time an individual reported having participated in gardening seemed to have no relationship to the number of vegetables and fruits they reportedly consumed.
"This suggests that gardening intervention programs late in life would be an effective method of boosting vegetable and fruit consumption in older adults," Waliczek said.
The findings are published in the journal HortTechnology.