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The Natural Health Service: a new campaign for healthier lifestyles

HEAL member, Natural England, has launched a new campaign, designed to provide more open spaces in cities as a way of dealing with the mounting health problems caused by urbanised, sedentary lifestyles.

In the face of projections suggesting that nine out of ten adults in the UK could be overweight or obese by 2050, Natural England have launched the ‘Natural Health Service’ which calls for a step-change in the way that people are given access to green spaces and the ways in which outdoor activity programmes are supported by GPs.

The aim of the Natural Health Service is to provide accessible green space for all, bringing the countryside back into urban living. The project is borne out of Natural England’s recent research highlighting that people who live close to a park are more likely to lead active lives and less likely to be overweight. 17032016 - HEAL response to Serbian Minister (ENG) {PDF}

Natural England is the UK government’s advisor on the natural environment, providing practical advice on how best to safeguard England’s natural wealth for the benefit of everyone. Through this new campaign, Natural England wishes to encourage people in England to make the most of their green space. Believing that parks, woodlands, and countryside, even our tree lined streets are a major resource that can help combat rising levels of diseases such as diabetes, obesity and depression in England.

The natural health service has two key aims: 1. To increase the number of households that are within five minutes walk of an area of green space of at least two hectares 2. To enable every GP or community nurse to be able to signpost patients to an approved health walk or outdoor activity programme.

Last updated on 10 June 2011

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The Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL) is a leading European not-for-profit organisation addressing how the environment affects health in the European Union (EU). We demonstrate how policy changes can help protect health and enhance people’s quality of life. Read more »


HEAL has over 70 member organisations, representing health professionals, not-for-profit health insurers, doctors, nurses, cancer and asthma groups, citizens, women’s groups, youth groups, environmental NGOs, scientists and public health institutes. Members include international and Europe-wide organisations, as well as national and local groups. Read more »

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