News from ISGlobal
According to a new study led by the Barcelona Institute for Global Health (ISGlobal), people who commute through natural environments report better mental health. This is the main conclusion of a research based on questionnaires answered by nearly 3,600 participants from four European cities and published in Environment International.
The study was conducted within the Positive Health Effects of the Natural Outdoor Environment in Typical Populations in Different Regions in Europe project (PHENOTYPE). The 3,599 participants from Barcelona (Spain), Doetinchem (the Netherlands), Kaunas (Lithuania) and Stoke-on-Trent (UK) answered a questionnaire about their commuting habits and their mental health.
The statistical analysis showed that respondents commuting through natural environments on a daily basis had on average a 2.74 point higher mental health score compared to those who commuted through natural environments less frequently. This association was even stronger among people who reported active commuting (i.e. walking or cycling). In this case, natural environments were defined as all public and private outdoor spaces that contain ‘green’ and/or ‘blue’ natural elements such as street trees, forests, city parks and natural parks/reserves, and also included all types of waterbodies.
Wilma L. et.al. Active commuting through natural environments is associated with better mental health: Results from the PHENOTYPE project. Environ. Int. 2018. 2018 Dec; 121 (Pt 1): 721-727.