Natural Environments as an Ecosystem Service for Improved Public Health

Jun 19, 2017 - 12:00pm to 1:00pm
700-828 W. 10 Ave., VGH Research Pavilion
Matilda van den Bosch

An increasing amount of research demonstrates that natural environments are of value for public health. Theories from environmental psychology claim that nature support stress relief and recovery from mental fatigue. Neurophysiological data show that the brain’s “networking function” is improved by nature exposure, improving resilience to stress and negative thoughts.  

The impact of nature on public health, also through other pathways, such as reduction of urban heat and related morbidity and mortality, sets nature exposure within the concept of ecosystem services. Epidemiological studies have demonstrated that many diseases related to these “services” or health determinants decrease in green areas, for example obesity, heart failure, and depression.

This presentation will provide the state of the art on research around natural environment and health outcomes. It will discuss the interlinkages between healthy ecosystems and human health and how further interdisciplinary efforts are required in order to meet public health challenges today and in the future.