Bringing nature to schools to promote children’s physical activity

Sharma-Brymer, Vinathe & Bland, Derek C. (2016) Bringing nature to schools to promote children’s physical activity. Sports Medicine. (In Press)

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Physical activity (PA) is essential for human health and wellbeing across all age, socioeconomic and ethnic groups. Engagement with the natural world is a new defining criterion for enhancing the benefits of PA particularly for children and young people. Interacting with nature benefits children’s social and emotional wellbeing, develops resilience and reduces the risk of obesity and type 2 diabetes across all population groups. Governments around the world are now recognising the importance of children spending more active time outdoors. However, children’s outdoor activities, free play and nature-related exploration are often structured and supervised by adults due to safety concerns and risks. In this context schools become more accessible and safe options for children to engage in PA outdoors with the presence of nature features. Research on school designs involving young children has revealed that children prefer nature-related features in school environments. Affordances in nature may increase children’s interest in physically active behaviours. Given that present school campuses are designed for operational efficiency and economic reasons there is a need to re-design schools responding to the positive role of nature on human health. If schools were re-designed to incorporate diverse natural features children’s PA and consequent health and wellbeing would likely improve markedly.

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ID Code: 93206
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: primary education, school environments, student well-being, physical activity
DOI: 10.1007/s40279-016-0487-z
ISSN: 1179-2035
Divisions: Current > Research Centres > Children & Youth Research Centre
Current > Schools > School of Cultural & Professional Learning
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Education
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2016 Springer International Publishing, Switzerland
Deposited On: 24 Feb 2016 23:13
Last Modified: 07 Mar 2016 23:42

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