How Being in Nature can Promote Healthier Body Image

Swami, Viren (2020) How Being in Nature can Promote Healthier Body Image. Relate Malaysia, Online.

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As many Asian nations rapidly urbanise, governments and policy-makers are having to deal with the negative impacts of urbanisation on population mental health. One cost-effective way of promoting population psychological well-being is through nature experiences, or exposure to natural environments. Studies consistently show that nature experiences are associated with benefits for mental health. Here, I show that exposure to natural environments is also associated with more positive body image, beyond benefits to mental health more generally. I review the evidence from cross-sectional, prospective, and experimental fieldwork showing that spending time in natural environments is associated with healthier body image, while acknowledging that much of this work has been conducted in the Global North. Such findings highlight the importance of ensuring that all citizens have easy access to natural environments, particularly in increasingly urbanised Asian nations where town planning and greenspace requirements are often at odds. There is now an urgent need for authorities to protect ecological assets, such as remnant forest patches, as well the provision of, and access to, natural environments.

Item Type: Other
Keywords: Nature exposure, Body Image
Faculty: Faculty of Science & Engineering
SWORD Depositor: Symplectic User
Depositing User: Symplectic User
Date Deposited: 29 Sep 2020 12:53
Last Modified: 07 Feb 2022 11:11

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