Public Health, Health Inequality and Access to Greenspace: A scoping review
PHE ePoster Library. Hands A. Apr 9, 2019; 259616; 15613
Mrs. Angela Hands
Mrs. Angela Hands
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Abstract A key target of the UK Government's 25 Year Environment Plan, is engagement with the natural environment in order to benefit health and wellbeing. Evidence suggests that access to greenspace may support health improvement by increasing physical activity and improved mental health. However, there may be inequities in access to green space; use by different populations, and barriers to accessibility. This scoping review aims to examine the UK research on inequities in access to, and use of green spaces; and barriers and facilitators to use by different populations, and its influence on health inequalities. Four electronic databases MEDLINE; HMIC; Scopus and PsychInfo were searched for publications from January 2008 to December 2018. Selection criteria were established a priori. Any study that considered access to greenspace, health inequalities and health outcomes were included. The results were summarised narratively. The search resulted in 3442 citations after de-duplication. 122 articles were assessed for eligibility and 24 studies included in the review. Of these studies, 18 were cross sectional, two qualitative, and the remainder intervention, mixed methods and longitudinal. Variable inequality measures were identified across studies, including IMD; Townsend Index; and Carstairs Index along with inconsistent measures of socioeconomic status e.g. income. A range of accessibility measurements were also identified, ranging from 300m to 1km; or percentage per geographical areas. Most studies suggest associations between access to greenspace and health inequality. Others found no clear relationship. This may be due to measurement variability and the cross sectional nature of studies. To improve the quality of evidence in this area, consistency in measurement is suggested, and further longitudinal studies are recommended. This will influence and inform UK policy makers and practitioners to promote equitable usage of green spaces; and overcome barriers for target populations which may face difficulties in accessing or using the natural environment.
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