An exploration of the relationship between greenspaces, physical activity and health

Lachowycz, Kate (2013) An exploration of the relationship between greenspaces, physical activity and health. Doctoral thesis, University of East Anglia.

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A growing body of evidence investigates whether access to greenspace, such as parks and woodland, is beneficial to health and well-being. Potential health benefits include physical and social activities within the space and psychological benefits of interacting with nature. However, findings from empirical research investigating relationships between greenspace access and health outcomes are mixed and there are major gaps in current understanding about the underlying causal mechanisms.
This thesis explores the relationship between access to greenspace and health outcomes, with a particular focus on examining use of different types of greenspaces for physical activity. Firstly, a systematic literature review is undertaken to evaluate studies examining relationships between access and obesity related health outcomes and behaviours. An evidence-based theoretical framework is then presented, which documents the relationship between access and health, illustrating potential moderating and mediating factors.
Using data from the PEACH study, a sample of global positioning system (GPS) and accelerometer data collected from children, two studies are presented: Analysis of how much activity occurs within different types of urban greenspace, and a test of associations between access to greenspace and time and moderate-vigorous activity within it. A third study analyses the Active People Survey, a sample of 190,000 adults across England, to test associations between neighbourhood greenness and recreational walking and explore if such associations mediate relationships with mortality.
Results show that living nearer greenspace is associated with recording more physical activity within it (for children) and higher levels of recreational walking (for adults). This supports the potential value of greenspace as a health promoting resource. Whilst this also supports the possibility that physical activity within greenspace is a mediator in relationships between access and wider health outcomes, the results do not support this conclusion and indicate that other mediators, such as psychosocial factors, may be more important.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Science > School of Environmental Sciences
Depositing User: Users 2593 not found.
Date Deposited: 02 Dec 2013 14:49
Last Modified: 02 Dec 2013 14:49


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