Exploring the association of children's engagement in nature and outdoor activity with physical activity: A systematic review

Vanessa Martucci, The University of Texas School of Public Health

Abstract

The natural environment and green spaces are settings that may facilitate physical activity and, as a result, combat childhood obesity and benefit children's physical health. A systematic review was conducted to assess the effect of children's engagement in outdoor activity on children's physical activity levels. A total of 169 articles were initially identified, of which 11 were eligible for inclusion in the systematic review. Studies were heterogeneous: cross-sectional, RCT, cohort, and direct observation. Study participants were between the ages of 3-15 years, and physical activity was measured by accelerometers, pedometers, direct observation or surveys. A majority of the studies (9/11) found a positive association between time spent outdoors and physical activity in children and adolescents. Of these 9 studies, 5 found this association specifically between time spent outdoors in greenspace and physical activity. Despite limitations, the findings of this review support the positive association between time spent outdoors and physical activity in children and adolescents, and the notion that children and adolescents who spend more time outdoors are more physically active. This demonstrates the need to use outdoor environments as settings for children's and adolescents' physical activity.^

Subject Area

Health Sciences, Public Health|Recreation

Recommended Citation

Vanessa Martucci, "Exploring the association of children's engagement in nature and outdoor activity with physical activity: A systematic review" (January 1, 2012). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). Paper AAI1515660.
http://digitalcommons.library.tmc.edu/dissertations/AAI1515660

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