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Open AccessArticle

The Effects of an Urban Forest Health Intervention Program on Physical Activity, Substance Abuse, Psychosomatic Symptoms, and Life Satisfaction among Adolescents

by Riki Tesler 1,*,†, Pnina Plaut 2,† and Ronit Endvelt 3
1
Department of Health System Management, Faculty of Health Science, Ariel University, Ariel 407000, Israel
2
Faculty of Architecture and Town Planning, Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, Haifa 3200003, Israel
3
School of Public Health, University of Haifa, Haifa 3498838, Israel
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
These authors contributed equally to this work.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15(10), 2134; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph15102134
Received: 7 August 2018 / Revised: 21 September 2018 / Accepted: 26 September 2018 / Published: 28 September 2018
Background: At-risk adolescents have been defined as youth who are or might be in physical, mental, or emotional danger. An Urban Forest Health Intervention Program (UFHIP) was formed at a center for at-risk adolescents in Israel, in order to promote physical activity and reduce risky behavior. Objective: To evaluate the intervention’s effect on physical activity, smoking, alcohol consumption, psychosomatic symptoms, and life satisfaction. Methods: From 2015 to 2016, at-risk youth were nonrandomly selected to participate in the UFHIP. Questionnaires were administered to both intervention and control groups before and after the intervention. Univariate and multivariable analyses evaluated the intervention’s effect. Results: The study participants (n = 53) showed 0.81 more sessions per week of 60 min of physical activity than did the control group (n = 23; p = 0.003). Among the intervention group, smoking frequency reduced from a mean of 2.60 (SD = 1.30) to 1.72 (SD = 1.08), whereas that in the control group increased from 3.17 (1.03) to 3.39 (1.03). In both groups, there was a reduction in alcohol consumption, with a greater change among intervention participants: −1.08 (SD = 1.30), compared with −0.09 (SD = 1.79) in the control group. Conclusions: Findings indicate that the environmental intervention was efficacious in increasing physical activity and reducing risky behaviors among youth. The effectiveness of this intervention among larger samples is warranted in future prospective studies. View Full-Text
Keywords: urban forest; at-risk youth; risky behavior; physical activity; intervention; psychosomatic symptoms; life satisfaction urban forest; at-risk youth; risky behavior; physical activity; intervention; psychosomatic symptoms; life satisfaction
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Tesler, R.; Plaut, P.; Endvelt, R. The Effects of an Urban Forest Health Intervention Program on Physical Activity, Substance Abuse, Psychosomatic Symptoms, and Life Satisfaction among Adolescents. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15, 2134.

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