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Research that Supports Recreation

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Nature is There and it’s Free

Key Message

Activities in the natural environment serve as a protective factor in the health and well-being of immigrant families, providing emotional and physical nourishment in the face of adversity.

Source

Hordyka, Shawn Renee, Hanleya, Jill, and Richard, Éric. (2015). "Nature is there; its free": Urban greenspace and the social determinants of health of immigrant families. Health & Place. 34: 74–82. doi:10.1016/j.healthplace.2015.03.016

Purpose

In this article, we draw on a 2012 Montreal-based study that examined the embodied, every day practices of immigrant children and families in the context of urban greenspaces such as parks, fields, backyards, streetscapes, gardens, forests and rivers. 

Evidence

Results suggest that activities in the natural environment serve as a protective factor in the health and well-being of this population, providing emotional and physical nourishment in the face of adversity. Using the Social Determinants of Health model adopted by the World Health Organization (WHO, 1998), we analyze how participants accessed urban nature to minimize the effects of inadequate housing, to strengthen social cohesion and reduce emotional stress. We conclude with a discussion supporting the inclusion of the natural environment in the Social Determinants of Health Model.

Benefit Statements / Outcomes

Leadership Provided By:

  • Leisure Information Network (LIN)
  • Alberta Recreation and Parks Association

On Behalf Of:

  • Canadian Parks and Recreation Association (CPRAA)

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