The natural outdoors and health: assessing the value and potential contribution of secondary public data sets in the UK to current and future knowledge

Health Place. 2011 Jan;17(1):269-79. doi: 10.1016/j.healthplace.2010.11.005. Epub 2010 Nov 18.


UK policy interest in the health effects of the outdoors has grown rapidly in recent years. In parallel, the research community's effort to strengthen the evidence base for the relationships between the outdoors and health has also increased. However, little has been done to explore quantitative secondary public data sets conducted by government departments and agencies to improve the evidence base on understanding such links. This paper aims to provide an overview of potentially valuable secondary public data sets and to assess their relevance for adding to the existing evidence base on the health effects of the natural outdoors. The search identified 41 data sets dealing with the outdoors/outdoor use, health or both. Review results indicated that, due to their large scale, extensive coverage, and continuous or longitudinal nature, knowledge included in secondary public data sets could be a valuable addition to the current evidence base and provide useful baseline information for future studies. This paper also identifies some aspects of secondary public data which could be improved, establishing a stronger knowledge base for the health effects of the natural outdoors.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Data Collection* / standards
  • Data Collection* / statistics & numerical data
  • Environment
  • Forecasting
  • Health / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Nature*
  • United Kingdom / epidemiology