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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(1), 1176-1191; doi:10.3390/ijerph110101176
Article

Connectedness to Nature and Public (Skin) Health Perspectives: Results of a Representative, Population-Based Survey among Austrian Residents

1,* , 2
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1
,
1
 and
1
1 Institute of Environmental Health, Center for Public Health, Medical University of Vienna, Kinderspitalgasse 15, A-1090 Vienna, Austria 2 Institute of Meteorology, University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna, Peter-Jordan-Straße 82, A-1190 Vienna, Austria
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 12 October 2013 / Revised: 13 January 2014 / Accepted: 13 January 2014 / Published: 20 January 2014
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Health Behavior and Public Health)
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Abstract

Connectedness to nature (CN) influences motivation to have contact with outdoor natural environments. Spending leisure time in natural environments is beneficial for human health and well-being. Besides these positive effects, health risks of open-air activities are mainly related to unprotected sun light exposure-associated acute and chronic skin hazards. Thus, we conducted a cross-sectional, representative telephone survey among Austrian residents to study the association of perceived CN level with sun-exposure knowledge, tanning habits, and sun protective behaviour. In total, 1,500 study subjects (50.5% females) participated in this questionnaire survey. Although knowledge about tanning and motives to tan were similar among genders, females performed more photoprotective measures and were more connected to nature (all p < 0.001) compared to males. Older age and outdoor sport were significant gender-independent predictor variables influencing perceived CN level. Additionally, level of education was relevant in male CN, whereas non-smoking and higher knowledge were predictive of female CN. This survey provides so far unreported empirical data on the relationship between nature connectedness and skin health-relevant recreational habits of Austrian residents. The findings suggest to integrate hitherto neglected gender-specific Public (Skin) Health promotion when counselling on the manifold health advantages of outdoor activities.
Keywords: melanoma; skin cancer prevention; gender differences; connectedness to nature; questionnaire survey; Public Health melanoma; skin cancer prevention; gender differences; connectedness to nature; questionnaire survey; Public Health
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).
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Haluza, D.; Simic, S.; Höltge, J.; Cervinka, R.; Moshammer, H. Connectedness to Nature and Public (Skin) Health Perspectives: Results of a Representative, Population-Based Survey among Austrian Residents. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11, 1176-1191.

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