Naturally Healthy – Reports, evidence and links


Devon reports 

Also see reports from Devon Projects (National Parks etc) on our partner project pages.

Naturally Healthy May 2019 – Impact report

In April 2019 medical student Tom Downs joined the Naturally Healthy team for his student elective placement. He spent time with a number of naturally healthy projects, including CAN.  You can read his thoughts on the health benefits of connecting with nature in a report on his experiences in general (Nature and health report) and on the CAN projects he visited.

How to engage target audiences in Naturally Healthy events – Guidance document produced by Active Devon (February 2018).

Naturally Healthy Devon Schools project in North and East Devon (ended in 2017). The project extended the work of Natural Connections and investigated the benefits of learning in natural environments.

In 2014 DCC’s public health team commissioned a literature review and research looking at the barriers people face in accessing Devon’s natural environment.  Resulting publications include:

Reconnecting People and Nature (2012) – a report produced by the Community Council for Devon for Natural Devon following workshops with local communities and partner organisations.


Public Health Priorities for Devon

Devon County Council’s health and wellbeing pages provide information on public health issues and priorities across the county – including the Joint Strategic Needs Assessment, the Devon Joint Health & Wellbeing Strategy, Outcomes Reports and District Public Health Summaries.

The Devon Health and Wellbeing Strategy includes an indicator measuring the ‘proportion of physically active adults’.  More information can be found on the Health and Wellbeing Outcomes Report webpage.

Read the most recent ‘Devon Annual Public Health Report 2019/20‘ which is themed Planetary and Human Health.


Evidence – Natural England/ Defra and Public Health England publications

Natural England’s rapid scoping review of health and wellbeing evidence for the Framework of Green Infrastructure Standards sets out the sizeable body of research that underlines the importance of creating more, bigger, better and joined-up green spaces, especially near to where people live, and to address inequalities.

Public Health England’s ‘Improving access to greenspace review’ is now published and includes the recent evidence linking greenspace to health outcomes, intervention approaches, valuation of greenspace, and advice on how to strengthen local policies and strategies.

Natural England’s Monitoring of Engagement with the Natural Environment (MENE). An analysis of latest results (March 2018 to February 2019) and 10 years of the survey (2009 to 2019).

Evidence Statement on the links between Natural Environments and Human Health (2017) – DEFRA  report

Connection to Nature – Evidence Briefings  (2016)

Good practice in social prescribing for mental health: the role of nature-based interventions (2017) – Research building on previous work to explore best practice in referring patients to nature-based interventions through social prescribing services.

Outdoors for All publications includes a series of evidence briefings produced in conjunction with Exeter University (physical activity, mental health and dementia, obesity and physiological health).

Natural England – Health and Natural Environment Digest Winter 2013/14 – A selection of recent evidence, tools, research and guidance on Health and the Natural Environment.

Evaluation of Green Exercise Programme (2011) – The results of eight Natural England pilot studies in to encouraging people to access their local green space for exercise.

Green space access, green space use, physical activity and overweight (2011) – evidence  on the association between both perceived and objectively measured access to green space, frequency of green space use, physical activity levels, and the probability of being overweight or obese

Health and the natural environment – web page information on the environment and health and wellbeing

Monitor of Engagement with the Natural Environment (MENE), on-going – baseline and trend data on how people use the natural environment.

Our Natural Health Service (2009) – The role of the natural environment in maintaining healthy lives.


Other evidence and publications

Register for the SWEEP Investing in Nature for Health Hub for great resources around nature and health

Nature and mental health: An ecosystem service perspective.  A look at how ecosystem service assessments can be expanded to include mental health.

Climate change has been identified as the greatest threat to global public health for this century.  The Faculty of Public Health has uploaded resources for consultants and practitioners on sustainable development and climate change.

The Prevention Green Paper ‘Advancing Our Healthy – Prevention in the 2020’s‘ is now available and contains a strong element around Physical Activity.  Please take the time to review and respond to the consultation questions.

Social Prescribing: Making it work for GPs and patients – guidance from the British Medical Association

Social prescribing and community-based support: Summary guide – NHS England

Green prescribing – why you should and how it works, Centre for Sustainable Healthcare

Mental Health and our Changing Climate: impacts, implications and guidance.

World Health Organisation review of evidence: Urban Green Spaces and Health

NHS England Common Outcomes Framework for Social Prescribing draft document.

Blue care: a report providing a systematic review of blue space interventions and their potential benefits for health and wellbeing.

Nature Plymouth – a report on Active Neighbourhoods, a project to improve access to, care of and engagement with green spaces in areas of Plymouth experiencing health inequalities.

Moving Medicine is a new digital tool that will help healthcare professionals advise patients on how physical activity can help to manage their conditions, prevent disease and aid recovery. Other similar resources available to healthcare professionals include: the BMJ e-learning module on physical activity; CMO Physical Activity Infographics for health professionals; and Physical Activity Clinical Champion Programme training.

Surf therapy: the long-term impact (2018) – An independent longitudinal evaluation of the impact of The Wave Project on vulnerable young people 2013-2017

The Wave Project (2015) – An independent evaluation of The Wave Project’s impact on
vulnerable young people over 3 Years from 2013-2015

Ecosystems Knowledge webinar, Opportunities for health and the environment – Dr James Szymankiewicz (Devon LNP Chair).

One Health Article and Response British Medical Journal – Dr SZYMANKIEWICZ

How to engage target audiences in your Naturally Healthy events – Guidance document from Active Devon (February 2018)

Health Benefits from Nature Experiences Depend on Dose (2017) – interesting research asking what kinds of benefit to health accrue from what kinds of ‘Dose’? – Published in Nature’s Scientific reports.

The King’s Fund brings together a wide range of evidence-based interventions on ‘what works’ in improving public health and reducing health inequalities. Summary from their website.

Wildlife Trust and University of Essex research shows that nature volunteering has a significant impact on those with low levels of mental wellbeing.

Nature for Heath and Equity (2017) – Briefing produced by the Institute for European Environmental Policy, for Friends of the Earth Europe – Building on from the original study “The Health and Social Benefits of Nature and Biodiversity Protection” (2016) and associated case studies

Summary of the research benefits of being naturally healthy and the business case

Connecting Global Priorities: Biodiversity and Human Health Summary of the State of Knowledge Review was officially launched at the 14th World Congress for Public Health held on 13th February 2015, in Kolkata, India.

Everybody Active, Every Day, and the supporting document, set out the case for change, evidence base for implementation and the options for action and highlights four key domains for action at national and local level.

Beyond Greenspace – uses secondary ecological, socioeconomic and health data to deepen our understanding of relationships between nature, health and wellbeing. The project is at the European Centre for Environment and Human Health, part of the University of Exeter Medical School, which contains some useful links.

Growing the Evidence (2012) – a research symposium delivered in association with NHS South of England and Greenspace South West.  Reviewed current research exploring the links between access to the natural environment and health and wellbeing.   Presentation slides available, including information on the Plymouth Stepping Stones project.

MIND – information on the benefits of ecotherapy

EUROPARC Atlantic Isles, on behalf of the EUROPARC Federation‘s health and protected areas working group, has coordinated the preparation of a suite of case studies from across Europe focusing on the role of protected areas in (human) health and well-being.

Coastal proximity and physical activity: Is the coast an under-appreciated public health resource?  Recent findings suggest that individuals living near the coast are healthier than those living inland.  Article and full report can be found here.


Useful Links and Websites

 Centre for Sustainable Healthcare

The UK Health Alliance on Climate Change

Sustainable Development Unit’s Powerful Points Library Tool

Moving Medicine Prescribing Movement Tool


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