The Role of the Outdoor Recreation Discipline in Public Health: Nature as Preventative Medicine

Jillisa R Overholt

Abstract


The natural environment is being increasingly recognized as an essential component of human health. This literature review explores this relationship as it occurs in the scholarly literature, with particular emphasis on the ways that outdoor recreation as an academic discipline facilitates human-natural environment interactions. Salient theories from a variety of disciplines are tied to parks, protected lands and wilderness, and global trends are discussed. Ultimately, it is suggested that outdoor recreation and its parent discipline of recreation and leisure studies can be viewed as integral pieces of the emerging wellness model, and that interaction with natural environments may foster stewardship and health.


Keywords


public health; wellness; natural environments; parks

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