Increased greenspace exposure has been shown to reduce stress, stroke, hypertension, asthma and heart disease

Added March 23, 2020

Citation: Twohig-Bennett C, Jones A. The health benefits of the great outdoors: A systematic review and meta-analysis of greenspace exposure and health outcomes. Environmental Research 2018; 166: 628-37

What is this? The COVID-19 pandemic has led to the closing of some leisure facilities, bars, restaurants, cafes and, with the need to self-isolate and socially distance, parks and green spaces have become an important resource for potential health and wellbeing benefits.

In this systematic review, the authors searched for observational and interventional studies investigating the effects of green space exposure on physical health outcomes.  They defined green space as open, undeveloped land with natural vegetation as well as urban green spaces, which included urban parks and street greenery. They restricted their search to publications in English and did the search in January 2017. They identified 103 observational studies and 40 interventional studies, which investigated approximately 100 physical health outcomes.

What works: Increased greenspace exposure was associated with indicators of reduced stress and reduced incidence of stroke, hypertension, asthma and heart disease.

What doesn’t work: Nothing noted.

What’s uncertain: Given that no such evidence was available for the review, it is uncertain how protocols for social distancing can help people continue to have access to green space during the COVID-19 outbreak.


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