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A dose of nature: New UW initiative to spearhead research on health benefits of time outside

Time spent in nature can reduce anxiety and help you sleep better at night, experts have found. It also offers promising benefits for a range of health issues, including cardiovascular disease, depression and obesity.

But there are still many questions about how time in nature can help with these health conditions, and others. A new University of Washington initiative announced this week seeks to advance research on these questions, connecting academic researchers with pediatricians, childcare providers, mental health practitioners and others who work with various populations on critical health issues.

“The Nature for Health initiative is aimed at accelerating our understanding of the health impacts of time spent in nature,” said Joshua Lawler, the initiative’s lead and a UW professor in the School of Environmental and Forest Sciences. “The group is not only about doing this critical research, but also about applying it to create programs and policies that are good for human health.”

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