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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(2), 172; doi:10.3390/ijerph14020172

Doses of Nearby Nature Simultaneously Associated with Multiple Health Benefits

1
Environment and Sustainability Institute, University of Exeter, Penryn, Cornwall TR10 9EZ, UK
2
Zealandia, 31 Waiapu Road, Karori, Wellington 6012, New Zealand
3
School of Biological Sciences, University of Queensland, St Lucia, Brisbane 4072, Australia
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 21 October 2016 / Accepted: 22 January 2017 / Published: 9 February 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Landscapes and Human Health)
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Abstract

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 the simultaneous association between exposure to nearby nature and multiple health benefits. We surveyed ca. 1000 respondents in Southern England, UK, to determine relationships between (a) nature dose type, that is the frequency and duration (time spent in private green space) and intensity (quantity of neighbourhood vegetation cover) of nature exposure and (b) health outcomes, including 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 activity 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 the potential to guide minimum and optimum recommendations on the management and use of nearby nature for preventative healthcare. View Full-Text
Keywords: depression; dose-response; exposure to nature; extinction of experience; nature dose; nature relatedness; physical behaviour; risk factors; social cohesion; self-assessment of health depression; dose-response; exposure to nature; extinction of experience; nature dose; nature relatedness; physical behaviour; risk factors; social cohesion; self-assessment of health
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Cox, D.T.C.; Shanahan, D.F.; Hudson, H.L.; Fuller, R.A.; Anderson, K.; Hancock, S.; Gaston, K.J. Doses of Nearby Nature Simultaneously Associated with Multiple Health Benefits. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14, 172.

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