More Time Outdoors, Less of Medications

More Time Outdoors, Less of Medications

“These results are important because they add to the growing body of evidence showing that being close to nature is good for our patients’ health,” Jochem Klompmaker, PhD, from Harvard Medical School, Boston, commented on a research finding from Finland. The study which was published online on 16th January in the journal Occupation and Environmental Medicine revealed that persons who spent more time outdoors specifically in nature were less likely to need medication for high blood pressure, asthma, depression or other mental health meds.

​With a sample size of 7,321 people from Helsinki, Espoo and Vantaa (urban environments), it was found that the amounts of green and blue space views from home were not associated with medications.

Green spaces were defined as parks, zoos, cemeteries, forests, grasslands, moors, and wetlands while blue spaces as seas, rivers and lakes. Although this lowers the odds of psychotropic, antihypertensive and asthma, medication use was associated with the frequency of visits to these green spaces. Persons who visited these spaces 3-4 times/week had 36% lower odds of using blood pressure meds, 33% lower odds of using mental health meds, and 26% lower odds of using asthma medications. Obesity ,however, tends to cancel the benefits of being in nature frequently.

​This study is expected to cause a rise in quality green spaces and their patronage in urban environments. Anu W. Turunen, PhD, from the Finland Institute for Health and Welfare in Kuopio, Finland, lead author of the research study, shares this view as more scientific evidence come up supporting the health benefits of frequent exposure to nature.

​In light of these findings, we are all urged to take frequent visits to green spaces around us.


BY: Worlako Biese-Macarthy

University of Health and Allied Health Sciences




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