‘What Works’ in nature based health interventions

In March we published a review of the linkages between natural environments and health outcomes with Defra. You can download a copy of the full Evidence Statement on the links between natural environments and human health or a set of summary slides.


We found that we now have a relatively robust body of evidence which has demonstrated that spending time in greener environments is associated with better health outcomes. This has resulted in an increasing interest in using natural environment as a setting for health promotion and care. However there is uncertainty as to how, when and where natural environments could be best used to improve health outcomes. We concluded that there is relatively little synthesized evidence of the impacts of nature based health interventions.

As a result, and funded by Defra, the project team have now started work to identify ‘What Works’ in nature based health interventions. The results will inform Defra’s approach to supporting nature based health interventions.

We are focusing on identifying ‘what works’ in relation to three specific groups:

  1. Urban people’s use of urban greenspaces
  2. Hard to reach groups
  3. Children and young people’s natural environment based physical activity

We are searching for evidence of effective approaches to nature based health interventions. We are interested in a number of questions, including;

  1. how are effective interventions designed, implemented and delivered;
  2. how interventions are funded and supported;
  3. what makes an intervention scalable and sustainable?

If you have any good examples of nature based health interventions relating to the three topics above please do get in touch! We are particularly interested in finding intervention evaluations and especially so any which tell us about the process of designing, implementing and delivering the intervention.

One comment

  1. […] Importantly the statement also considers the implications of the evidence base for current and future policy and delivery. […]

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