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Varied populations and interactions with nature 

Varied populations and interactions with nature

Matilda van den Bosch

and William Bird

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date: 04 July 2022

Children’s disconnection from nature has urgent ramifications, as nature is associated with a wide variety of positive human health outcomes and, conversely, disconnection from nature is linked to negative health outcomes. This chapter first considers factors (e.g. screen time, recess policies) that have contributed to children spending less time outdoors. Issues of equity are also discussed; the fact that income and race-based disparities in nature access can exacerbate effects on health. The chapter then outlines linkages between the natural environment and children’s health, reviewing evidence that connects nature to children’s health, function, and well-being. It includes aspects of both mental and physical health, and addresses outcomes such as: social interaction and social cohesion; cognitive restoration and academic performance; symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder; myopia; physical activity and obesity; and vitamin D deficiency. Future research and implications for public health are considered. Lastly, promising intervention programmes are described.

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