Health Benefits from Nature Experiences Depend on Dose

Danielle F. Shanahan, Robert Bush, Kevin J. Gaston, Brenda B. Lin, Julie Dean, Elizabeth Barber, Richard A. Fuller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

239 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Nature within cities will have a central role in helping address key global public health challenges associated with urbanization. However, there is almost no guidance on how much or how frequently people need to engage with nature, and what types or characteristics of nature need to be incorporated in cities for the best health outcomes. Here we use a nature dose framework to examine the associations between the duration, frequency and intensity of exposure to nature and health in an urban population. We show that people who made long visits to green spaces had lower rates of depression and high blood pressure, and those who visited more frequently had greater social cohesion. Higher levels of physical activity were linked to both duration and frequency of green space visits. A dose-response analysis for depression and high blood pressure suggest that visits to outdoor green spaces of 30 minutes or more during the course of a week could reduce the population prevalence of these illnesses by up to 7% and 9% respectively. Given that the societal costs of depression alone in Australia are estimated at AUD$12.6 billion per annum, savings to public health budgets across all health outcomes could be immense.

Original languageEnglish
Article number28551
Pages (from-to)1-10
Number of pages10
JournalScientific Reports
Volume6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 23 Jun 2016
Externally publishedYes

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