Measuring nature contact: a narrative review

Holland, I. et al. (2021) Measuring nature contact: a narrative review. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 18(8), 4092. (doi: 10.3390/ijerph18084092) (PMID:33924490) (PMCID:PMC8069863)

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While many studies suggest evidence for the health benefits of nature, there is currently no standardized method to measure time spent in nature or nature contact, nor agreement on how best to define nature contact in research. The purpose of this review is to summarize how nature contact has been measured in recent health research and provide insight into current metrics of exposure to nature at individual and population scales. The most common methods include surrounding greenness, questionnaires, and global positioning systems (GPS) tracking. Several national-level surveys exist, though these are limited by their cross-sectional design, often measuring only a single component of time spent in nature, and poor links to measures of health. In future research, exposure assessment combining the quantifying (e.g., time spent in nature and frequency of visits to nature) and qualifying (e.g., greenness by the normalized difference of vegetation index (NDVI) and ratings on perception by individuals) aspects of current methods and leveraging innovative methods (e.g., experience sampling methods, ecological momentary assessment) will provide a more comprehensive understanding of the health effects of nature exposure and inform health policy and urban planning.

Item Type:Articles
Additional Information:This research was funded by The National Geographic Society and NIH grants P30 ES000002, P30 ES025128, R00 CA201542, R01 HL150119, R01 ES028712, and T32 ES007069. R.M. is funded by the UK Medical Research Council (MRC) Places, and Health Programme (MC_UU_00022/4) and the Chief Scientist Office of Scotland (CSO) (SPHSU10).
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Mitchell, Professor Rich
Creator Roles:
Mitchell, R.Writing – review and editing
Authors: Holland, I., DeVille, N. V., Browning, M., Buehler, R. M., Hart, J. E., Hipp, J. A., Mitchell, R., Rakow, D. A., Schiff, J. E., White, M. P., Yin, J., and James, P.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Health & Wellbeing > MRC/CSO SPHSU
Journal Name:International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
ISSN (Online):1660-4601
Published Online:13 April 2021
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2021 The Authors
First Published:First published in International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 18(8):4092
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
3048231Places and healthRich MitchellMedical Research Council (MRC)MC_UU_00022/4HW - MRC/CSO Social and Public Health Sciences Unit
3048231Places and healthRich MitchellOffice of the Chief Scientific Adviser (CSO)SPHSU19HW - MRC/CSO Social and Public Health Sciences Unit