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C&NN Research and Studies: Volume Five November 2011

C&NN Research and Studies: Volume Five November 2011

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This annotated bibliography updates research compiled in volumes one through four of the Children & Nature Network (C&NN) research resources, with an emphasis on research published in 2009-2011 in two primary areas: 1) benefits to children from contact with nature; and 2) children’s experience of nature.
This annotated bibliography updates research compiled in volumes one through four of the Children & Nature Network (C&NN) research resources, with an emphasis on research published in 2009-2011 in two primary areas: 1) benefits to children from contact with nature; and 2) children’s experience of nature.

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Published by: Children & Nature Network Resource Library on Apr 18, 2012
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© Children & Nature NetworkResearch and Studies – Volume FiveNovember 2011
1
Research and Studies
Volume Five November 2011
 
Annotated Bibliographyby Alicia Senauer LogeYale University
 
 This annotated bibliography updates research compiled in volumes one through four of theChildren & Nature Network (C&NN) research resources (www.childrenandnature.org/research), with an emphasis on research published in 2009-2011 in two primary areas: 1) benefits to childrenfrom contact with nature; and 2) children’s experience of nature. The studies selected for thisannotated bibliography are either reports of original research or syntheses of existing research. Allstudies meet criteria for scholarly excellence. This document includes a summary of each researchreport, information on lead/corresponding author affiliation, a full citation, and information on eachdocument’s availability. While this bibliography includes many notable studies, it is not exhaustiveand recommendations are welcome on additional research to include. Please send suggestions to theattention of Cheryl Charles, Ph.D., President and CEO, Children & Nature Network,Cheryl@childrenandnature.org .
 Table of Contents:PageSection 1: Benefits to children from contact with nature
2Focus: Health benefits 2Focus: Physical activity/fitness & weight 15Focus: Other benefits 25
Section 2: Children’s experience of nature
30Focus: Outdoor behavior 30Focus: Outdoor spaces 45Focus: Physical activity/fitness & weight 51Focus: Environmental knowledge, attitudes, & behavior 65
 
 
© Children & Nature NetworkResearch and Studies – Volume FiveNovember 2011
2
Focus: Health benefits 
 These articles examine relationships between children’s outdoor-related behavior and naturecontact and their physical, mental, and social health and well-being.
Research Syntheses: 
Physical activity and exposure to nature are important to good health
In this literature review, Pretty and colleagues examine the role of physical activity and naturecontact on health and well-being, with a particular focus on children. The authors discuss thecurrent state of physical inactivity, the positive health benefits of nature contact, and the potentialrole of green exercise (activity in the presence of nature) toward improving health and well-being.Pretty and colleagues review three stages of childhood and their differing needs, evidence regarding children’s physical activity levels, and the benefits of children’s exposure to nature. The authorsdiscuss the impact of urban design and green space in terms of physical activity and various healthoutcomes, including cognitive health and learning, as well as the impact of nature-basedinterventions, such as care farms and wilderness therapy, for children with special needs. Based ontheir review, Pretty and colleagues propose two conceptual pathways—healthy and unhealthy—thatshape our lives and life outcomes. On the healthy pathway, people are active, connected to peopleand society, engage with natural places, and eat healthy foods and as a result tend to live longer andhave a better quality of life. On the unhealthy pathway, people are inactive, disconnected to peopleand society, do not engage with natural places, and eat unhealthy foods, and as a result die earlierand have a lower quality of life. In concluding their review, Pretty and colleagues make tenrecommendations to improve people’s well-being, including increasing children’s outdoor free play and encouraging planners to incorporate access to green space.
 Author Affiliation: Jules Pretty is with the University of Essex in the UK.
Pretty, J., Angus, C., Bain, M., Barton, J., Gladwell, V., Hine, R., et al. (2009).
Nature, childhood,health and life pathways 
: University of Essex.
 This report is available online at:http://www.essex.ac.uk/ces/occasionalpapers/Nature%20Childhood%20and%20Health%20iCES%20Occ%20Paper%202009-2%20FINAL.pdf  
 
Section 1: Benefits to children from contact with nature
 
 This section reviews research from 2009-2011 focused on the physical, mental, and socialbenefits that contact with nature provides to children. This section also highlights research onrelated factors that provide insight on this topic. Research is grouped into several main focalareas.
 
 
© Children & Nature NetworkResearch and Studies – Volume FiveNovember 2011
3
Being outdoors is important to our health
Godbey examines the health benefits of being outdoors, including the role these activities play instress reduction. He also examines outdoor recreation as it relates to specific children’s health issues,including obesity and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, and how spending time outdoors canbenefit children with these health challenges. Godbey investigates children’s connection with natureand the many variables that impact children’s outdoor play. He discusses different approaches tomeasuring physical activity and participation in outdoor recreation, as well as recent trends in park  visitation and outdoor activity participation. He also highlights numerous factors that impactparticipation in outdoor activities, including amount of leisure time, proximity to outdoor space,safety of parks, and park and playground design. Throughout the review, Godbey highlights specificresearch gaps that could help guide future efforts. He also discusses changing demographics as they relate to outdoor recreation and what these changes may mean in terms of successful policymaking.
 Author Affiliation: Geoffrey Godbey is with Resources for the Future.
Godbey, G. (2009).
Outdoor Recreation, Health, and Wellness: Understanding and Enhancing the Relationship 
. Washington DC: Resources for the Future.
 This report is available online at:http://www.rff.org/documents/RFF-DP-09-21.pdf  
Green environments are essential to human health
 In this report, Kuo reviews evidence of the benefits that nature contact provides to our health. Kuobegins by discussing the development of nature-human health research and how in the last decaderesearch has become incredibly diverse and rigorous. As a result of the research that has beenconducted to date, she concludes that green environments are essential to human health. In the bulk of the report, Kuo reviews evidence of the benefits that nature contact provides to our social,psychological, and physical health. In each major section, she discusses evidence from a sampling of relevant studies that are diverse and of high quality. For example, she reviews evidence that naturecontact promotes healthier social behavior and lessens social dysfunction, helps alleviate stress,improves resilience, promotes optimal psychological functioning, improves recovery from physicaltrauma, and reduces mortality. Kuo discusses current ideas on how nature might promote humanhealth, including the role of physical activity, immune functioning, and stress reduction. She alsodiscusses a set of larger themes that have emerged from the literature, such as that greenenvironments must be experienced to have positive health impacts and that nature contact can takemany forms and occur at many different dosage levels. Kuo concludes her report by providing specific recommendations on how to increase people’s nature contact and its associated healthbenefits by: 1) providing as much nature, in as many forms as possible; 2) bringing nature to people;and 3) bringing people to nature.
 Author Affiliation: Frances Kuo is with the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

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