Doses of nearby nature simultaneously associated with multiple health benefits
International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
© 2016 by the authors; licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons by Attribution (CC−BY) license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).
Exposure to nature provides a wide range of health benefits. A significant proportion of these are delivered close to home, because this offers an immediate and easily accessible opportunity for people to experience nature. However, there is limited information to guide recommendations on its management and appropriate use. We apply a nature dose-response framework to quantify how exposure to nearby nature simultaneously potentially associates with multiple health benefits. We surveyed c.1000 respondents in Southern England, UK, to determine relationships between (a) the frequency and duration (time spent in private green space), and intensity (quantity of neighbourhood vegetation cover) of nature dose, and, (b) mental, physical and social health, physical behaviour and nature orientation. We then modelled dose-response relationships between dose type and self-reported depression. We demonstrate positive relationships between nature dose and mental and social health, increased physical behaviour and nature orientation. Dose-response analysis showed that lower levels of depression were associated with minimum thresholds of weekly nature dose. Nearby nature is associated with quantifiable health benefits, with potential for lowering the human and financial costs of ill health. Dose-response analysis has potential to guide minimal and optimal recommendations on the management and use of nearby nature for preventative healthcare.
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Vol. 14, Iss. 2, pp. 172 -