Nature Deficit campaign: ‘Sitting is the new smoking’

Hit up the great outdoors. Credit: Getty Images
Hit up the great outdoors.
Credit: Getty Images

Depression, obesity, and behavioral problems are caused by lack of outdoor activity, claim a growing movement of academics and healthcare professionals. The campaigners are demanding that exposure to nature be used as a medical treatment.

”The body of evidence keeps expanding that inactivity can have repercussions as severe as smoking”, US writer Richard Louv, chairman of the Children & Nature Network and inventor of the term ‘Nature Deficit Disorder’, told Metro. ”But we should focus on the benefits – cognitive function improves with exposure to nature, as do Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) symptoms.”

A range of independent studies – including from Unicef – indicate that engagement with nature can have a dramatic impact on stress and happiness levels. The benefits of outdoor pursuits were also highlighted by 2012 figures from medical journal The Lancet that showed 5.3 million people worldwide die each year through inactivity – a similar total to smoking.

”We’re not blaming anyone but it’s time to look at solutions now, especially for children”, said Mike Collins of Britain’s National Trust, which is launching a new campaign backed by hospitals and schools to promote engagement with nature. “Access to green space is critical, and we want doctors to have the freedom to prescribe active treatments – such as regular walks in depression cases.”

But despite the campaign, no medical authority has been willing to recognize NDD as a disorder and the term has been criticized. ”It could be considered a phoney syndrome”, chartered psychologist Dr. Katie Sparks said. Sparks acknowledged that nature had a positive impact on stress, but added ”People’s problems can be made worse by creating labels”.


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

Florida man charged with murdering son to play…

A Florida man annoyed that his 16-month-old crying son was preventing him from playing video games suffocated the toddler, police said on Friday.

International

Powerful 7.2 magnitude earthquake rattles Mexico

A powerful earthquake struck Mexico Friday, shaking buildings and sending people running into the street, although there were no reports of major damage.

News

OMG! Exercise can make skin (and butt) look…

A moderate exercise regime can turn back time and actually reverse the skin's aging process, according to new research. The study showed that a minimum…

Local

Oval oasis: Summer of fun kicks off this…

A bold partnership between the Fairmount Park Conservancy and the city's Parks and Recreation Department is kicking off this weekend with family activities re-activating this unused public space.

Entertainment

Whoopi Goldberg makes her debut as marijuana columnist

"It helps my head stop hurting, and with glaucoma your eyes ache, and she takes the ache out. It's wonderful," she said.

The Word

Kate Middleton made fun of Prince William's bald…

Kate Middleton and Prince William are in Sydney, Australia, right now, and it sounds like that brash Aussie sense of humor might be rubbing off.

The Word

Is Tom Cruise dating Laura Prepon?

"Mission: Impossible" star Cruise is said to be dating Laura Prepon, star of "Orange is the New Black."

Television

'Scandal' recap: Season 3, Episode 18, 'The Price…

Sally is Jesus, Olivia caused global warming, and Mellie's still drunk. Let's recap the Scandal finale. A church full of Washington insiders is about to…

MLB

Jimmy Rollins is key to Phillies success

When John Kruk was asked about what the Phillies need to contend for a playoff berth, the ESPN analyst said Jimmy Rollins needs to play like a MVP again.

MLB

Ben Revere lifts Phillies to avoid sweep

Ben Revere came through with a two-out RBI single against Atlanta’s tough lefthander Alex Wood.

NBA

Season wrap: 76ers make the grade

The 76ers opened the 2013-14 season with a victory over the Miami Heat. The Sixers closed the season with a win at Miami.

NBA

Fantasy basketball: Finding next year's NBA studs

Before we put the 2013-14 fantasy basketball season to bed, it’s worth thinking about next year’s breakouts while they’re fresh in our mind.

Tech

VIDEO: 'Vein-scanning' may become the future of paying

Designed to make transactions quicker and easier, the technology works by scanning the unique vein patterns in each person's palm.

Tech

#FollowFriday: 10 of the smartest Twitter accounts

Spending lots of time on Twitter? You might as well learn something. Here are some of the smartest accounts to follow.

Style

Light-up nail art syncs with phone

This Japanese technology syncs light-up nail art with your phone.

Wellbeing

Why is dance cardio taking off in NYC?

Instructors at some of the city's hottest classes explain why.