Health & Wellbeing
The natural environment, from parks and gardens to countryside and coast, plays an important part in good health and wellbeing. Contact with nature promotes better health and can help reduce health inequalities. Mental health problems affect 1 in 4 people and contact with nature can help to prevent, alleviate and assist recovery. Many common chronic diseases are linked to a lack of physical activity – cardiovascular disease, diabetes, some cancers and osteoporosis. The natural environment provides many opportunities for ‘green exercise’ and being outdoors helps people maintain their motivation to keep fit. Access to greenspace reduces the health gap in society. Living near greenspace can help ease chronic stress, improve quality of life and create stronger communities. The beneficial effect of greenspace is greatest in deprived areas.
Nationally the evidence base for demonstrating the health benefits of the natural environment is very strong and well understood. Translating this to the local level and demonstrating how a given intervention on green space can make a difference for health , where this should take place and providing the evidence for this is the challenge which KNP is helping to address. KNP have made significant progress on the health and nature agenda working with a range of partners and is currently working to develop new approaches for the county.