The effects of an Urban Forest Health Intervention Program on physical activity, substance abuse, psychosomatic symptoms, and life satisfaction among adolescents

Riki Tesler, Pnina Plaut, Ronit Endvelt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: At-risk adolescents have been defined as youth who are or might be in physical, mental, or emotional danger. An Urban Forest Health Intervention Program (UFHIP) was formed at a center for at-risk adolescents in Israel, in order to promote physical activity and reduce risky behavior. Objective: To evaluate the intervention’s effect on physical activity, smoking, alcohol consumption, psychosomatic symptoms, and life satisfaction. Methods: From 2015 to 2016, at-risk youth were nonrandomly selected to participate in the UFHIP. Questionnaires were administered to both intervention and control groups before and after the intervention. Univariate and multivariable analyses evaluated the intervention’s effect. Results: The study participants (n = 53) showed 0.81 more sessions per week of 60 min of physical activity than did the control group (n = 23; p = 0.003). Among the intervention group, smoking frequency reduced from a mean of 2.60 (SD = 1.30) to 1.72 (SD = 1.08), whereas that in the control group increased from 3.17 (1.03) to 3.39 (1.03). In both groups, there was a reduction in alcohol consumption, with a greater change among intervention participants: −1.08 (SD = 1.30), compared with −0.09 (SD = 1.79) in the control group. Conclusions: Findings indicate that the environmental intervention was efficacious in increasing physical activity and reducing risky behaviors among youth. The effectiveness of this intervention among larger samples is warranted in future prospective studies
Original languageEnglish
Article number2134
Pages (from-to)1-12
Number of pages12
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Volume15
Issue number10
DOIs
StatePublished - 2018

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.

Keywords

  • At-risk youth
  • Intervention
  • Life satisfaction
  • Physical activity
  • Psychosomatic symptoms
  • Risky behavior
  • Urban forest

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Pollution
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis

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