Source: CICH graphic created using data adapted from Statistics Canada. Table 153-0148 – Households and the environment survey, parks and green spaces, Canada, provinces and census metropolitan areas (CMA), every 2 years (percent). http://www5.statcan.gc.ca/cansim/a26?lang=eng&retrLang=eng&id=1530148&&pattern=&stByVal=1&p1=1&p2=31&tabMode=dataTable&csid= -accessed July 26, 2017.
The majority of Canadians – 85% – reported that they live close to a park or green space.
This varied by province – from a low of 72% in New Brunswick to a high of 86% in Québec, Alberta and British Columbia.
The Importance of Greenspace
There is an increasing body of research that has identified contact with nature as a major health determinant.1 This includes the amount of time that people spend in and around gardens, parks, forests, agricultural land and tree-lined streets. The conclusions are that “the less green a person’s surroundings, the higher their risk of morbidity and mortality – even when controlling for socioeconomic status and other possible confounding variables”.1
Recent studies have shown that exposure to nature results in healthier, more active children.2 Exposure to nature increases children’s activity levels, decreases their body mass index (BMI), and increases their concentration levels .1
A number of specific health outcomes have been associated with contact with nature/green space. These include many that affect young children. For example, mortality, overweight/obesity, attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder, infectious diseases, anxiety, diabetes, respiratory disease – and life expectancy.1 Many mechanisms for this effect, or possible causal pathways between nature and health, have been identified.1
1Kuo M (2015) How might contact with nature promote human health? Promising mechanisms and a possible central pathway. Front. Psychol. 6:1093. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2015.01093.
2Wade C. Nature Deficit and Health in the Pediatric Population: a Critical Appraisal. February 2014. http://cape.ca/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/Nature-Deficit-Research-Project-C.-Wade-2014.pdf – accessed July 27, 2017.