Deakin University
Browse
townsend-healthynature-2006.pdf (916 kB)

Healthy nature healthy people: 'contact with nature' as an upstream health promotion intervention for populations

Download (916 kB)
journal contribution
posted on 2006-03-01, 00:00 authored by Cecily Maller, Mardie TownsendMardie Townsend, A Pryor, P Brown, Lawrence St Leger
Whilst urban-dwelling individuals who seek out parks and gardens appear to intuitively understand the personal health and well-being benefits arising from `contact with nature', public health strategies are yet to maximize the untapped resource nature provides, including the benefits of nature contact as an upstream health promotion intervention for populations. This paper presents a summary of empirical, theoretical and anecdotal evidence drawn from a literature review of the human health benefits of contact with nature. Initial findings indicate that nature plays a vital role in human health and well-being, and that parks and nature reserves play a significant role by providing access to nature for individuals. Implications suggest contact with nature may provide an effective population-wide strategy in prevention of mental ill health, with potential application for sub-populations, communities and individuals at higher risk of ill health. Recommendations include further investigation of `contact with nature' in population health, and examination of the benefits of nature-based interventions. To maximize use of `contact with nature' in the health promotion of populations, collaborative strategies between researchers and primary health, social services, urban planning and environmental management sectors are required. This approach offers not only an augmentation of existing health promotion and prevention activities, but provides the basis for a socio-ecological approach to public health that incorporates environmental sustainability.

History

Journal

Health promotion international

Volume

21

Issue

1

Pagination

45 - 54

Publisher

Oxford Journals

Location

Oxford, England

ISSN

0957-4824

eISSN

1460-2245

Language

eng

Notes

Published online on December 22, 2005

Publication classification

C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

Copyright notice

2005, Oxford University Press