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Sports (Basel). 2019 Jun 10;7(6). pii: E141. doi: 10.3390/sports7060141.

Nature-Based Interventions for Improving Health and Wellbeing: The Purpose, the People and the Outcomes.

Author information

1
Zealandia Centre for People and Nature, 6012 Wellington, New Zealand. danielleshanahan@gmail.com.
2
Population Wellbeing and Environment Research Lab (PowerLab), School ofHealth and Society, University of Wollongong, 2522 Wollongong, Australia. thomasab@uow.edu.au.
3
School of Public Health, University of Queensland, Brisbane, 4006 Queensland, Australia. e.barber@uq.edu.au.
4
UK. Discipline of Psychology, Australian College of Applied Psychology, Brisbane, 4000 Queensland, Australia. E.Brymer@leedsbeckett.ac.uk.
5
Environment & Sustainability Institute, University of Exeter, Cornwall TR10 9EZ, UK. D.T.C.Cox@exeter.ac.uk.
6
School of Public Health, University of Queensland, Brisbane, 4006 Queensland, Australia. j.dean@sph.uq.edu.au.
7
European Centre for Environment and Human Health, University of Exeter Medical School, Exeter EX1 2LU, UK. michael.depledge@pms.ac.uk.
8
School of Biological Sciences, University of Queensland, Brisbane, 4072 Queensland, Australia. r.fuller@uq.edu.au.
9
Institute for Housing and Urban Research, Uppsala University, 75120 Uppsala, Sweden. terry.hartig@ibf.uu.se.
10
Social, Economic and Geographical Sciences, James Hutton Institute, Aberdeen AB15 8QH, UK. katherine.irvine@hutton.ac.uk.
11
Norwich Medical School, University of East Anglia, Norwich, Norfolk NR15 1LT, UK. Heidy.Kikillus@vuw.ac.nz.
12
Centre for Biodiversity and Restoration Ecology, Victoria University of Wellington, 6012 Wellington, New Zealand. Heidy.Kikillus@vuw.ac.nz.
13
European Centre for Environment and Human Health, University of Exeter Medical School, Truro TR1 3HD, UK. R.Lovell@exeter.ac.uk.
14
Centre for Research on Environment, Society and Health, University of Glasgow, Glasgow G12 8QQ, UK. richard.Mitchell@glasgow.ac.uk.
15
Department of Environmental Science, University of Helsinki, 00014 Helinski, Finland. jari.niemela@helsinki.fi.
16
ISGlobal, Barcelona Institute for Global Health, Barcelona Biomedical Research Park (PRBB), 08003 Barcelona, Spain. mnieuwenhuijsen@creal.cat.
17
Department of Biological Sciences, University of Essex, Colchester, Essex CO4 3SQ, UK. jpretty@essex.ac.uk.
18
School of Health & Social Development, Deakin University, 3217 Geelong, Australia. mardie.townsend@deakin.edu.au.
19
Zoology Department, University of Otago, 9016 Dunedin, New Zealand. yolanda.vanheezik@otago.ac.nz.
20
Integrative Medicine, The University of Michigan, Michigan, MA 48710, USA. swarber@med.umich.edu.
21
Environment & Sustainability Institute, University of Exeter, Cornwall TR10 9EZ, UK. K.J.Gaston@exeter.ac.uk.

Abstract

Engagement with nature is an important part of many people's lives, and the health and wellbeing benefits of nature-based activities are becoming increasingly recognised across disciplines from city planning to medicine. Despite this, urbanisation, challenges of modern life and environmental degradation are leading to a reduction in both the quantity and the quality of nature experiences. Nature-based health interventions (NBIs) can facilitate behavioural change through a somewhat structured promotion of nature-based experiences and, in doing so, promote improved physical, mental and social health and wellbeing. We conducted a Delphi expert elicitation process with 19 experts from seven countries (all named authors on this paper) to identify the different forms that such interventions take, the potential health outcomes and the target beneficiaries. In total, 27 NBIs were identified, aiming to prevent illness, promote wellbeing and treat specific physical, mental or social health and wellbeing conditions. These interventions were broadly categorized into those that change the environment in which people live, work, learn, recreate or heal (for example, the provision of gardens in hospitals or parks in cities) and those that change behaviour (for example, engaging people through organized programmes or other activities). We also noted the range of factors (such as socioeconomic variation) that will inevitably influence the extent to which these interventions succeed. We conclude with a call for research to identify the drivers influencing the effectiveness of NBIs in enhancing health and wellbeing.

KEYWORDS:

Nature–based health interventions; forest schools; green exercise; green prescriptions; wilderness therapy

Conflict of interest statement

The authors declare no conflict of interest. The funders had no role in the design of the study; in the collection, analyses, or interpretation of data; in the writing of the manuscript, or in the decision to publish the results.

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