People with a strong connection to nature and the environment have better diets than others. They generally eat more fruits and vegetables.
- People who spend at least two hours a week outdoors are healthier.
- According to a study by the Ministry of Ecological Transition, 39% of French people go out into nature at least once a week.
If you feel good in nature, it is anything but a coincidence, because spending time outside does us good. According to researchers from Drexel University, located in the United States, time spent outdoors leads to better health. This is the thesis they develop in American Journal of Health Promotion. They analyzed the links between our relationship to nature and a healthy lifestyle.
How does our relationship to nature influence our diet?
The research team interviewed more than 300 adults living in Philadelphia through an online survey. Survey participants reflected the demographics (gender, income, education, and race) of Philadelphia, according to the 2010 census. Data was collected between May and August 2017. Questions focused on their views regarding the nature , the experience they had of it but also on their diet. For example, scientists have sought to assess the diversity of their diet, through their consumption of vegetables and fruits. “Survey results show that participants with a stronger connection to nature report having a more varied diet and eating more fruits and vegetables.conclude the researchers.
Different interpretations of these results
Brandy-Joe Milliron, one of the lead authors, isn’t surprised by these results. “Connection to nature has been associated with better cognitive, psychological and physical health and higher levels of environmental responsibilityhe explains. Our findings extend this list of benefits to include dietary intake.” For him, there are two main applications to this study: first, public health policies based on the promotion of nature can have a second effect by improving food, while policies whose primary objective is to acting on diet based on the relationship to nature may be more effective, compared to diet-only interventions.
Nature on prescription?
For the authors, the integration of green spaces or the “greening urban“in urban planning policies, integrating nature and parks into health care practices and promoting nature-based experiences in classrooms can help develop people’s relationship with nature , and thus help them to be healthier. Canada is one of the pioneering countries in this field. Based on the results of various studies on the benefits of nature, health professionals have decided to prescribe nature prescription in 2020 i.e. they recommend their patient to spend more time outdoors. Called ParX, the program advises spending at least two hours a week outdoors, all divided into sessions of at least 20 minutes.