Trends and Knowledge Gaps in the Study of Nature-Based Participation by Latinos in the United States

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2018 Jun 19;15(6):1287. doi: 10.3390/ijerph15061287.


Mounting evidence supports health and well-being benefits associated with nature experiences, while also highlighting race- and class-based inequalities in access and exposure. We synthesized the literature on nature contact by Latinos in the United States to assess the state of knowledge and strategically identify research needs to improve outcomes and reduce health disparities for this rapidly growing ethnic group. Our systematic review revealed 108 articles with a notable increase in number of papers over the past 3 decades. We noted that the body of research is focused on certain demographic targets (adults in urban areas) with a relative dearth of knowledge for others (children, seniors, and rural areas). Our analysis also revealed strong compartmentalizing of studies into research “clusters” based on nonoverlapping topics and types of outcomes that are measured. Although one-third of studies explored health outcomes, these studies rarely examined other outcomes or research topics. Moreover, less than 7% of studies reported on interventions. Given the potential for nature contact to enhance health and well-being, there is substantial need for multidisciplinary research that explores interactions between social, cultural, and economic factors, and how those ultimately relate to nature contact and outcomes for Latinos in the United States.

Keywords: greenspace; health; nature; outdoors; recreation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Health Behavior / ethnology*
  • Health Status Disparities*
  • Hispanic Americans / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Leisure Activities / psychology*
  • Nature*
  • United States