Living near green space will make your life better. New studies coming out of Europe point out that proximity to nature has an impact on levels of depression, as in there is less depression. If you have the option to keep local forests (or any green space) then you should keep it! Not only are nature areas good for the mind, they’re also good for the body. The same research has pointed out that obesity rates are lower in places where nature is accessible.
The benefits aren’t just for individuals because fitter, happier people is better for society at large.
Overall, nature is an under-recognised healer, the paper says, offering multiple health benefits from allergy reductions to increases in self-esteem and mental wellbeing.
A study team of 11 researchers at the Institute for European environmental policy (IEEP) spent a year reviewing more than 200 academic studies for the report, which is the most wide-ranging probe yet into the dynamics of health, nature and wellbeing.
The report makes use of several studies that depict access to nature as being inextricably linked to wealth inequality, because deprived communities typically have fewer natural environments within easy reach.
The obesity problem in the USA may start to shrink. After years of constantly increasing they caloric intake Americans seem to be getting the message that eating too much can be bad for you. This is the first year that caloric intake has decreased and hopefully it’s a trend of things to come.
As calorie consumption has declined, obesity rates appear to have stopped rising for adults and school-aged children and have come down for the youngest children, suggesting the calorie reductions are making a difference.
The reversal appears to stem from people’s growing realization that they were harming their health by eating and drinking too much. The awareness began to build in the late 1990s, thanks to a burst of scientific research about the costs of obesity, and to public health campaigns in recent years.
The obesity problem in North America keeps growing larger and it’s within all of our interests to ensure that we trim the fat. An online video series directed at kids is making a difference. The Adventure to Fitness series educates kids about animals, geography, and other fun things while keeping kids moving. This is really great because any parent or teacher can use the series to bring more activity and learning into a kid’s day.
According to Dr. Jenny Delfin, the Adventure to Fitness medical advisor and a cardiologist at New York University Langone Medical Center, the program’s effectiveness stems from how well the videos engage with each child. Kids retain the valuable lifestyle lessons without even realizing it because of their physical, mental and emotional connection to what they’re watching. And 30 minutes of moderate to intense exercise each day goes a long way.
The Adventure to Fitness program is currently being used in more than 22,000 schools and 100,000 classrooms worldwide, according to the company website, providing a strong recess alternative for rainy days and the winter months. Some of the schools utilize the videos as a component of after-school programming, giving kids an additional opportunity to jump around, work up a sweat and have a great time before they head home. Teachers and parents alike have found the videos to be an effective tool to help high-energy kids focus in the classroom.
Obesity is a health problem in North America and this is due to modern lifestyle choices. One choice is to live far from work and commute using a car (this has led to environmental problems in addition to health problems) which means that people physically move less than before. Some new research now points out that you can lose weight and keep it off by ditching the car and taking transit!
So now you can better manage your weight while reducing pollution!
In the study, which looked at 40,000 households throughout the country, men weighed around seven pounds less when they used public or active transit, and women weighed about 5.5 pounds less.
The researchers controlled for a range of other reasons that someone might weigh more or less–like diet, activity at work, fitness routines, and age.
“From the analysis we performed, it is not possible to ‘explain away’ our findings by saying that active commuters are more likely to be young, urban, wealthy, for example, and therefore thinner for these reasons rather than how they commute,” says Flint.
Doctor Robert Zarr prescribes walking in parks to his patients. Regular readers already know that the exposure to nature is beneficial in multiple ways for our physical and mental health. Doctors have also taken note of this and realize that prescribing walks and exposure to nature can reduce obesity rates while also being proactive in stemming other health problems.
Zarr doesn’t think prescribing parks is a radical step, though it may require a little getting used to. “Once you get over the conceptual hurdle of prescribing park, and you believe the scientific literature that clearly says being outside is good for health, then all it takes is to push a button on a computer. They have to do that anyway,” he says.
Zarr now hopes to develop a mobile app, and perhaps get the “have you been outside recently?” question included in patients’ pre-interviews alongside other vital signs queries.