Nature Exposure and Health

Associations between Nature Exposure and Health: A Review of the Evidence, research published on the International journal of environmental research and public health, explains the indissoluble link between human health and natural exposure

by Lorenzo Ciotti
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Nature Exposure and Health

We know the beneficial effects of exposure to nature have existed in all conditions for unknown times. At first only beliefs, today with a wealth of research behind us, we can confirm this with a certain degree of certainty.

We must also take into account the social and environmental upheavals of recent decades that have impacted nature and our relationships with it. Recently, researchers have drawn up an overview of the various research axes explored and of the results around the theme of human well-being and nature.

The notion of well-being, as understood here, does not only concern health, as the absence of disease, but more generally refers to a state of physical, mental and social well-being. Associations between Nature Exposure and Health: A Review of the Evidence, research published on the International journal of environmental research and public health, explains the indissoluble link between human health and natural exposure.

"There is extensive empirical literature on the association between exposure to nature and health. In this narrative review, we discuss the strength of evidence from recent (i.e., the last decade) experimental and observational studies on nature exposure and health, highlighting research on children and youth where possible.

We found evidence for associations between nature exposure and improved cognitive function, brain activity, blood pressure, mental health, physical activity, and sleep.

Nature Exposure and Health

Results from experimental studies provide evidence of protective effects of exposure to natural environments on mental health outcomes and cognitive function.

Cross-sectional observational studies provide evidence of positive associations between nature exposure and increased levels of physical activity and decreased risk of cardiovascular disease, and longitudinal observational studies are beginning to assess long-term effects of nature exposure on depression, anxiety, cognitive function, and chron ic disease.

Limitations of current knowledge include inconsistent measures of exposure to nature, the impacts of the type and quality of green space, and health effects of duration and frequency of exposure. Future directions include incorporation of more rigorous study designs, investigation of the underlying mechanisms of the association between green space and health, advancement of exposure assessment, and evaluation of sensitive periods in the early life-course. "