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, 105 (3), 470-7

Toward Improved Public Health Outcomes From Urban Nature

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Toward Improved Public Health Outcomes From Urban Nature

Danielle F Shanahan et al. Am J Public Health.

Abstract

There is mounting concern for the health of urban populations as cities expand at an unprecedented rate. Urban green spaces provide settings for a remarkable range of physical and mental health benefits, and pioneering health policy is recognizing nature as a cost-effective tool for planning healthy cities. Despite this, limited information on how specific elements of nature deliver health outcomes restricts its use for enhancing population health. We articulate a framework for identifying direct and indirect causal pathways through which nature delivers health benefits, and highlight current evidence. We see a need for a bold new research agenda founded on testing causality that transcends disciplinary boundaries between ecology and health. This will lead to cost-effective and tailored solutions that could enhance population health and reduce health inequalities.

Figures

FIGURE 1—
FIGURE 1—
A framework for identifying the pathways to health benefits from nature.

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