People in vicinity of green spaces had reduced frequency of cravings for alcohol and cigarettes among others

New study suggests when people are surrounded by green spaces, it reduced their cravings for smoking, alcohol and harmful foods. The study led by a team of researchers at the University of Plymouth is the first of its kind to concentrate efforts on the relationship between a passive exposure to greenery in the vicinity and lower frequencies and strengths of cravings.
The experts have concentrated their findings on basis of previous research that suggested that physical exercise in nature also minimized cravings. The team drafted their study hypothesis on the fact that the same is possible irrespective of physical activity.
Through the results of the study, scientists draw attention to the need of protecting, and creating more green spaces in towns and cities. This would in return also help in accelerating public health benefits.
The study was published in the Journal Health & Place and as quoted by researchers, it is one of the first studies to investigate the exposure to natural environments and cravings for the range of appetitive substances and experiencing negative emotions or feelings.
“It has been known for some time that being outdoors in nature is linked to a person’s wellbeing. But for there to be a similar association with cravings from simply being able to see green spaces adds a new dimension to previous research. This is the first study to explore this idea, and it could have a range of implications for both public health and environmental protection programmes in the future,” commented Leanne Martin, lead researcher of the project.
The results of the study were declared on basis of an online survey that explored the relationship between various aspects such as nature exposure, cravings and its negative effects. For the study the experts also measured proportion of green space around the participants’ residence. It was observed that the greenspace vicinity affected both lower craving strength and its frequency. While measuring physical activity within the same period of research time, it was found that minimized craving took place, in spite of physical level of activity.
In response to the study results, Dr Sabine Pahl, Associate Professor (Reader) in Psychology commented: “Craving contributes to a variety of health-damaging behaviours such as smoking, excessive drinking and unhealthy eating. In turn, these can contribute to some of the greatest global health challenges of our time, including cancer, obesity and diabetes. Showing that lower craving is linked to more exposure to green spaces is a promising first step. Future research should investigate if and how green spaces can be used to help people withstand problematic cravings, enabling them to better manage cessation attempts in the future.”