WashU affiliated authors: Christine C Ekenga (Brown School)
Background: Nature experiences have been shown to promote physical, emotional, mental and overall health. However, low-income youth often face inequities in access to nature. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the impact of a 15-week nature-based education (NBE) intervention on health-related quality of life (HRQoL) of low-income youth.
Methods: A total of 362 low-income youth (ages 9–15) in St. Louis, MO, USA, participated in this study. Study participants completed a pre- and post-intervention survey that included validated measures of six HRQoL domains (Physical Activity, Emotional Health Functioning, School Functioning, Social Functioning, Family Functioning and overall HRQoL). Random effects analysis of covariance was used to test for significant differences in HRQoL scores between the intervention and control groups, after adjusting for school, age, previous nature exposure, and Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics capacity.
Results: After the intervention period, youth in the NBE intervention group experienced improvements in all HRQoL domain scores (P < 0.001), whereas youth in the control group experienced declines in HRQoL domain scores (P < 0.001).
Conclusions: NBE may have a positive impact on the HRQoL of low-income youth. Further investigations examining the influence of nature-based activities on youth health outcomes are warranted.
Citation: Nadav L Sprague, Christine C Ekenga, The impact of nature-based education on health-related quality of life among low-income youth: results from an intervention study, Journal of Public Health, 2021;, fdaa243, https://doi.org/10.1093/pubmed/fdaa243