Studies examing the relationship between children’s outdoor behavior and contact with nature along with their physical, mental, and social health and well-being show the bottom line as :
Physical activity and exposure to nature are important to good health
Author Affiliation: Jules Pretty is with the University of Essex in the UK.
Pretty, J., Angus, C., Bain, M., Barton, J., Gladwell, V., Hine, R., et al. (2009).
Nature, childhood, health and life pathways: University of Essex.
The authors discuss the impact of urban design and green space in terms of physical activity and various health outcomes, including cognitive health and learning, as well as the impact of nature-based interventions, such as care farms and wilderness therapy, for children with special needs. Based on their review, Pretty and colleagues propose two conceptual pathways—healthy and unhealthy—that shape our lives and life outcomes. On the healthy pathway, people are active, connected to people and society, engage with natural places, and eat healthy foods and as a result tend to live longer and have a better quality of life. On the unhealthy pathway, people are inactive, disconnected to people and society, do not engage with natural places, and eat unhealthy foods, and as a result die earlier and have a lower quality of life. In concluding their review, Pretty and colleagues make ten recommendations to improve people’s well-being, including increasing children’s outdoor free play and encouraging planners to incorporate access to green space.