Annotated Bibliography: Health and Wellness
Research on the Beneficial Aspects of the Experience of Nature in Cities: A Literature Review (2012)
This literature review offers information about the myriad health benefits of spending time and experiencing nature, including nature’s healing benefits.
Kathleen Wolf, Katrina Flora, Elizabeth Housley. Research on the Beneficial Aspects of the Experience of Nature in Cities: A Literature Review. Prods. TKF Foundation and Open Spaces Sacred Places National Awards. February 27, 2012.
A Cohort Study Relating Urban Green Space with Mortality in Ontario, Canada (2012)
This Canadian study suggests that urban green space is associated with long-term reduction in mortality rates for a cohort of 575,000 adults, ages 35 and older, over a four year period. The study’s findings suggest that mere proximity to nature in an urban environment enhances people’s health, which could be explained by increased exercise in these green spaces and healthier lifestyles. However, the study advises that its findings should be interpreted cautiously as this association could be influenced by socio-demographic and lifestyle factors.
Paul J. Villeneuve, Michael Jerrett, Jason G. Su, Richard T. Burnett, Hong Chen, Amanda J. Wheeler, Mark S. Goldberg. “A Cohort Study Relating Urban Green Space with Mortality in Ontario, Canada.” Environmental Research 51, no. 8 (May 2012): 115.
The active commuting route environmental scale (ACRES): development and evaluation (2010)
This study conducted in Stockholm examined the effects of the environment on active transportation. The study tested a new scale, the Active Commuting Route Environment Scale (ACRES), to evaluate how environmental factors, including greenery and aesthetics, can influence the perceptions and behaviors of bicyclists and pedestrians related to active commuting. This could be applied in Cook County to see how the greenery and connectivity of bicycle paths affects the use of the trails through the forest preserves.
Lina Wahlgren, Erik Stigell, Peter Schantz. “The active commuting route environmental scale (ACRES): development and evaluation.” The International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity, July 2010: 58.
Vitalizing effects of being outdoors and in nature (2010)
This comparative study demonstrated that exercising outdoors in nature has been found to be more restorative than exercising indoors. While walking outdoors increased vitality, no discernible change in this measure was experienced during indoor walks. The study concluded that the presence of nature was an influential factor in improving vitality outdoors.
Richard M. Ryan, Netta Weinstein, Jessey Bernstein, Kirk Warren Brown, Louis Mistretta, Maryle ne gagne. “Vitalizing effects of being outdoors and in nature.” Journal of Environmental Psychology 30 (2010): 159-168.
Exercise, nature, and socially interactive based initiatives improve mood and self-esteem in the clinical population (2012)
A comparative, clinical analysis was conducted to evaluate the psychological benefits of two existing group-based health promotion initiatives; one was an indoor social club and swimming pool compared to the other, an outdoor walking program in the countryside and urban parks. The study’s findings suggest that that exercising outside in nature, coupled with the social component of the exercise activity, may play a key role in managing and supporting recovery from mental illness.
J. Barton, M Griffin, J. Pretty. “Exercise, nature, and socially interactive based initiatives improve mood and self-esteem in the clinical population.” Perspectives in Public Health 132, no. 2 (2012): 89-96.
The mental health benefits of green exercise activities and green care (2007)
A longitudinal study conducted in Colchester, a borough in Essex, England, evaluated the mental health benefits of “mind green activities,” which have a focus on green exercise and social inclusiveness. Participant feedback demonstrated that their interaction with nature played an important part in stimulating positive feelings, and the combination of exercising in nature was identified as being even more positively influential to stimulating positive feelings. This study provides sound evidence for the correlation between engaging in physical activities in nature and having positive psychological benefits.
Jo Peacock, Rachel Hine, Jules Pretty. The mental health benefits of green exercise activities and green care. Report for MIND, 2007.
The influence of interaction with forest on cognitive function (2011)
The aim of this study was to investigate whether forest-based experiences had a positive impact on cognitive function. The results of this study indicated that participants’ cognitive function was significantly improved when they walked in the forest. The results of this study confirmed Kaplan’s attention restoration theory (ART). ART has emphasized the importance of cognitive functions from interaction with natural environments such as forests.
Won Sop Shin, et. al. “The influence of interaction with forest on cognitive function.” Scandinavian Journal of Forest Research 26, no. 6 (December 2011): 595-598.
The relationship between trees and human health: evidence from the spread of the Emerald Ash Borer (2013)
This journal article describes a natural experiment that was undertaken to investigate the relationship between tree canopy loss, due to the Emerald Ash Borer, and mortality related to cardiovascular and lower-respiratory diseases. The researchers used fixed methods by using regression analysis and collected data over a seventeen year period (1990 to 2007) from fifteen states in the U.S. The researches completed the analysis in 2012, and their results suggest causation between EAB prevalence and lower respiratory system and cardiovascular related deaths at the county-level in their study area.
Geoffrey H. Donovan, PhD, David T. Butry, PhD, Yvonne L. Michael, ScD, Jeffrey P. Prestemon, Andrew M. Liebhold, Demitrios Gatziolis, Megan Y. Mao. “The relationship between trees and human health: evidence from the spread of the Emerald Ash Borer.” American Journal of Preventitive Medicine, January 2013: 139-146.
Why sick trees make for sick people (2013)
This article highlights evidence that sick trees have a negative effect on people. It cites information about the devastation of tree loss from Emerald Ash Borer infestation, and makes the point that wealthier communities are suffering comparatively more from tree blight since the loss of greenery is more noticeable.
Abrams, Lindsay. “Why sick trees make for sick people.” The Atlantic, January 23, 2013. Retrieved January 23, 2013, from http://www.theatlanticcities.com/arts-and-lifestyle/2013/01/sick-trees-make-sick-people/4450/
Green space, urbanity, and health: how strong is the relation? (2006)
This epidemiological study is notable for its large data set that provides information about how access to urban nature affects different socio-demographic groups. The results found that the percentage of green space inside a one kilometer to a three kilometer radius had a significant relation to perceived general health. Elderly, youth, and secondary educated people in large cities seem to benefit more from the presence of greenery in their nearby living environment than other groups in large cities. Although the findings conclude that urban planning should make a pointed effort to plan for green space to boost health and wellness, it still points out limitations in research findings on this topic.
J. Maas, R.A. Verheij, P.P. Groenewegen, S.D. Vries, P. Spreeuwenberg. “Green space, urbanity, and health: how strong is the relation?” Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health 66, no. 7 (January 2006): 587-592.
Effect of exposure to natural environment on health inequalities: an observational population study (2008)
The article presents an observational population study that examines the effect of exposure to the natural environment on health inequalities. The study assessed three variables, including income deprivation, cause-specific mortality, and all-cause mortality, to see how they varied in the study population depending on the participant’s exposure to green space. The results showed that populations living in the greenest areas had lower health inequalities and indicate overall that environmental surroundings may play an important role in reducing socioeconomic health inequalities.
Richard Mitchell and Frank Popham. Effect of exposure to natural environment on health inequalities: an observational population study. Lancet 372.9650 (Nov 8 2008): 1655-1660.
The influence of urban design on neighborhood walking following residential relocation: Longitudinal results from the RESIDE study (2013)
A longitudinal study was conducted in metropolitan Perth, Western Australia to assess how changes, actual and perceived, in the urban environment affected recreational walking. This study provides evidence that both transport and recreational-walking behaviors respond to changes in the availability and diversity of local transit infrastructure and recreational destinations, and shows the potential of local infrastructure to support healthy behaviors.
Billie Giles-Corti et al. The influence of urban design on neighborhood walking following residential relocation: Longitudinal results from the RESIDE study. Social Science & Medicine 77 (Jan 2013): 20-30.
Greenspace in urban neighbourhoods and residents’ health: adding quality to quantity (2012)
This Danish study examines the link between the quantity and quality of both green areas and streetscape greenery in certain urban. The study sample included eighty Dutch urban neighborhoods. Geographic Information System (GIS) analysis and auditing tools were used to assess the quantity and quality of the green spaces and streets. The study included a survey to acquire information about perceived health indicators. The study found a positive correlation between the health indicators and the quantity and quality of the green space in one’s neighborhood. It also specifically found that streetscape greenery is at least as strongly related to self-reported health as green areas.
S.M. van Dillen, S.D. Vries, P.P. Groenewegen, P. Spreeuwenberg. “Greenspace in urban neighbourhoods and residents’ health: adding quality to quantity.” Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health 66, no. 6 (2012).
Children & Nature Worldwide: An exploration of children’s experiences of the outdoors and nature with associated risks and benefits (2012)
C&NN was created to encourage and support the people and organizations working nationally and internationally to reconnect children with nature. The network provides a critical link between researchers and individuals, educators and organizations dedicated to children’s health and well-being. C&NN also promotes fundamental institutional change and provides resources for sharing information, strategic initiatives and success stories.
Children & Nature Network. “Children & Nature Worldwide: An exploration of children’s experiences of the outdoors and nature with associated risks and benefits.” 2012. Accessed on March 20th, 2013 from http://www.childrenandnature.org/downloads/CECCNNWorldwideResearch.pdf
Special Report on Youth: The Next Generation of Outdoor Champions (2013)The Outdoor Foundation conducted the largest survey of America’s youth’s participation in outdoor activity and found that rates of activity for this demographic have substantially declined.
The Outdoor Foundation. “Special Report on Youth: The Next Generation of Outdoor Champions” (Boulder). 2010. Accessed on March 15th, 2013 at http://www.outdoorfoundation.org/research.youth.html
Last Child in the Woods: Saving our Children from Nature Deficit Disorder (2008)
Richard Louv’s influential work about children and their disconnect with nature these days has made a critical impression on people and policy. He links the lack of nature in children’s lives today, which he calls nature deficit disorder, with health epidemics, such as rising obesity, attention deficit disorder and depression in our nation’s youth. Last Child in the Woods brings to bear research to draw the important connection that children need more time in nature for healthy childhood development.
Louv, Richard. Last Child in the Woods: Saving our Children from Nature Deficit Disorder. 2008.
The influence of nature on social, psychological and physical well-being (2004)
Health Council on the Netherlands & Dutch Advisory Council for research on Spatial Planning, Nature and the Environment. “The influence of nature on social, psychological and physical well-being.” Study (part 1 of 2), 2004. Accessed on March 20, 2013 from http://www.forhealth.fi/pmwiki/docs/dutch-health-council-review.pdf
The Association Between Neighborhood Greenness and Cardiovascular Disease, An Observational Study (2013)
This study investigated the link between physical activity and access to green space to assess whether this modifies risk of coronary heart disease and strokes. The researches established a cross-sectional study that was conducted over a six year span (2003-2009) in Perth, Australia using logistical regression to investigate the effects of variability in neighbourhood greenness on cardiovascular outcomes. Their findings indicate that greenness is negatively associated with coronary heart disease and strokes.
Gavin Pereira, Sarah Foster, Karen Martin, Hayley Christian, Bryan J. Boruff, Matthew Knuiman & Billie Giles-Corti. “The Association Between Neighborhood Greenness and Cardiovascular Disease, An Observational Study.” 1-9.Accessed on January 14, 2013, from http://www.biomedcentral.com/1471-2458/12/466
9 new indicators that bicycle travel and tourism are booming: Globally and in the U.S., bike tourism is becoming more popular and lucrative (2012)
This article in Adventure Cycling Association captures the booming cycle tourism trend around the world and shows its economic benefits and health benefits. At the local, state and regional scale, there are many examples of areas, including around the Great Lakes Basin, that are investing major funds to develop biking networks, and results show that the return on investment is also substantial.
Bateman, Winona. “9 new indicators that bicycle travel and tourism are booming: Globally and in the U.S., bike tourism is becoming more popular and lucrative.” Adventure Cycling Association, December 2012. Accessed on December 4th, 2012 from http://adventurecycling.org/news/20121204.cfm?use=web
The National Parks and Public Health: A NPS Healthy Parks, Healthy People Science Plan (2013)
This plan outlines how human health relates to the park system and the global human health movement. The plan includes explanation of physical activity, mental health, and well-being, nutrition, education and communication and how these ideas can relate to the overall preservation of the park system.
National Park Service: U.S. Department of Interior. “The National Parks and Public Health: A NPS Healthy Parks, Healthy People Science Plan.” (2013). http://www.nps.gov/public_health/hp/hphp/press/HPHP_Science.draft.july%202013.pdf