News from ISGlobal
Does exposure to blue spaces, such as lakes, springs, rivers and seas, benefit our health? A team from the ISGlobal has undertaken the first international review of quantitative studies—35 in total—on the health effects of blue space. Their findings show that contact with blue space is beneficial, particularly for mental health and well-being but also in terms of promoting physical exercise.
The evidence analysed in the course of this review of the 35 scientific studies identified in the literature, which has been published in the International Journal of Hygiene and Environmental Health, indicates that people living close to blue spaces report higher levels of physical activity. The evidence also suggests that interaction with blue space has a positive effect on mental health, particularly in terms of stress reduction and perceived well-being.
The evidence supporting an association between exposure to blue space and positive impacts on general health, obesity and cardiovascular health was weaker. The principal limitations in those cases are the relative paucity of studies and the lack of consistent results. Most of the studies reviewed—all but four–were carried out in high-income countries and most of them focused on exposure to blue spaces located close to the participants’ homes.
Gascon, M.; Zijlema, W.; Vert, C.; White, M.P.; Nieuwenhuijsen, M.J. Outdoor blue spaces, human health and well-being: A systematic review of quantitative studies. International Journal of Hygiene and Environmental Health 2017.