Nature, Childhood, Health and Life Pathways

Posted in: Comment, News and Updates

In preparation for the Natural England meeting last week, I read the University of Essex's Nature, Childhood, Health and Life Pathways report:

Pretty J, Angus C, Bain M, Barton J, Gladwell V, Hine R, Pilgrim S, Sandercock S and Sellens M. 2009. Nature, Childhood, Health and Life Pathways.  Interdisciplinary Centre for Environment and Society Occasional Paper 2009-02.  University of Essex, UK

Here's an extract from the Executive Summary:

"... ‘green exercise’, comprising of activity in green places (in the presence of nature), is predicted to lead to positive health outcomes, as well as to promote ecological knowledge, foster social bonds and influence behavioural choices.  Research suggests that attention should be given to developing the use of green exercise as a therapeutic intervention (green care), that planners and architects should improve access to green space (green design), and that children should be encouraged to spend more time engaging with nature and given opportunities to learn in outdoor settings (green education). Some of the substantial mental health challenges facing society and physical challenges arising from modern diets and sedentary lifestyles could be addressed by increasing physical activity in natural places. If children are encouraged and enabled to undertake more green exercise, then they are more likely to have active exposure to nature embedded in their lifestyle as adults and will reap the associated health benefits."

Indeed – NB, the emphasis is mine.

I go along with the general thrust of this sort of argument: An appropriate amount of nutrtious food and the right sort and amount of exercise in the open (ideally unpolluted) air (probably ideally with others) is, generally speaking and other things being equal, good for you in all sorts of ways.  But why is there a need for all this green jargon to make that point?  It surely impresses no one these days.

Posted in: Comment, News and Updates


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