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      Benefits of Nature Contact for Children

      Journal of Planning Literature
      SAGE Publications

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          Neighborhood environment and physical activity among youth a review.

          Research examining the association between environmental attributes and physical activity among youth is growing. An updated review of literature is needed to summarize the current evidence base, and to inform policies and environmental interventions to promote active lifestyles among young people. A literature search was conducted using the Active Living Research (ALR) literature database, an online database that codes study characteristics and results of published papers on built/social environment and physical activity/obesity/sedentary behavior. Papers in the ALR database were identified through PubMed, Web of Science, and SPORTDiscus using systematically developed and expert-validated search protocols. For the current review, additional inclusion criteria were used to select observational, quantitative studies among youth aged 3-18 years. Papers were categorized by design features, sample characteristics, and measurement mode. Relevant results were summarized, stratified by age (children or adolescents) and mode of measurement (objective or perceived) for environmental attributes and physical activity. Percentage of significant results was calculated. Mode of measurement greatly influenced the consistency of associations between environmental attributes and youth physical activity. For both children and adolescents, the most consistent associations involved objectively measured environmental attributes and reported physical activity. The most supported correlates for children were walkability, traffic speed/volume, access/proximity to recreation facilities, land-use mix, and residential density. The most supported correlates for adolescents were land-use mix and residential density. These findings support several recommendations for policy and environmental change from such groups as the IOM and National Physical Activity Plan. Copyright © 2011 American Journal of Preventive Medicine. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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            A Review of the Health Benefits of Greenness.

            Researchers are increasingly exploring how neighborhood greenness, or vegetation, may affect health behaviors and outcomes. Greenness may influence health by promoting physical activity and social contact; decreasing stress; and mitigating air pollution, noise, and heat exposure. Greenness is generally measured using satellite-based vegetation indices or land-use databases linked to participants' addresses. In this review, we found fairly strong evidence for a positive association between greenness and physical activity, and a less consistent negative association between greenness and body weight. Research suggests greenness is protective against adverse mental health outcomes, cardiovascular disease, and mortality, though most studies were limited by cross-sectional or ecological design. There is consistent evidence that greenness exposure during pregnancy is positively associated with birth weight, though findings for other birth outcomes are less conclusive. Future research should follow subjects prospectively, differentiate between greenness quantity and quality, and identify mediators and effect modifiers of greenness-health associations.
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              The impacts of nature experience on human cognitive function and mental health.

              Scholars spanning a variety of disciplines have studied the ways in which contact with natural environments may impact human well-being. We review the effects of such nature experience on human cognitive function and mental health, synthesizing work from environmental psychology, urban planning, the medical literature, and landscape aesthetics. We provide an overview of the prevailing explanatory theories of these effects, the ways in which exposure to nature has been considered, and the role that individuals' preferences for nature may play in the impact of the environment on psychological functioning. Drawing from the highly productive but disparate programs of research in this area, we conclude by proposing a system of categorization for different types of nature experience. We also outline key questions for future work, including further inquiry into which elements of the natural environment may have impacts on cognitive function and mental health; what the most effective type, duration, and frequency of contact may be; and what the possible neural mechanisms are that could be responsible for the documented effects. © 2012 New York Academy of Sciences.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Journal of Planning Literature
                Journal of Planning Literature
                SAGE Publications
                0885-4122
                1552-6593
                July 17 2015
                July 22 2015
                : 30
                : 4
                : 433-452
                Article
                10.1177/0885412215595441
                21e71390-8c4a-40e2-be16-95dbbf7394b9
                © 2015

                http://journals.sagepub.com/page/policies/text-and-data-mining-license

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