Contributing to a Healthier Scotland
The value of the outdoor environment as a resource for improving public health is increasingly recognised by the health sector and policy makers more generally. Scottish Natural Heritage's policy Developing the contribution of the natural heritage to a healthier Scotland sets out how better places and increased involvement in the enjoyment and care of nature and landscapes can help tackle current health challenges. There is a growing evidence base of the role green exercise - including informal recreation, volunteering and learning in the outdoors - can play in addressing physical inactivity, mental health issues and health inequalities. Building on our long-standing role in this area, SNH works to promote the use of the outdoors for better health and well-being, and contribute to the Scottish Government's targets for a healthier Scotland.
SNH, along with Forestry Commission Scotland and NHS Health Scotland, established the Green Exercise Partnership (GEP) in 2007. The overarching purpose of this Partnership is to promote better health and quality of life for people in Scotland through greater use of the outdoors for physical activity and contact with nature. A key area of work for the GEP has been the NHS Greenspace Demonstration project , designed to help NHS area health boards realise the health-promoting potential of their outdoors estate. The GEP has also been a key advocate of mainstreaming use of the outdoors and contact with nature as part of health promotion and improvement, work that is now being taken forward as part of Our Natural Health Service.
SNH is currently leading the development of the Our Natural Health Service initiative . Supported by both the health and environment portfolios in Scottish Government, the initiative aims to bring about a step change in the use of nature-based solutions to deliver health outcomes. Working with a range of partners across environment, transport, sport, education and health, the Our Natural Health Service action programme shows how high quality local greenspace, supportive nature-based projects, and better links between health and social care practitioners and the environment sector, can be part of the solution to many of Scotland's health issues.
Evidence demonstrating the health and well-being benefits of green exercise
Sharing information on a range of projects and programmes
Connecting environment and health sectors to maximize health outcomes
Last updated on Thursday 16th March 2017 at 17:48 PM. Click here to comment on this page