Healthy Parks Healthy People (HPHP) is an international initiative aimed at increasing the overall health and wellness of individuals through positive interactions with nature. The goal of HPHP, according to Ontario Parks, is to “use health to engage people with parks who may not be otherwise engaged and increase awareness of health benefits of parks with the overarching goal of improving health of Ontarians.” This webinar focused on evaluating the efficacy of HPHP as an initiative through community and stakeholder feedback and in situ surveying on parks premises.
- Anne Craig, Ontario Parks
- Catherine Reining, Wilfred Laurier University
5 Key Takeaways
- After five years of the HPHP program being implemented by Ontario Parks, they held a large public consultation in 2019 with largely positive feedback.
- Some engagement and communication strategies of HPHP focused on signature events that links parks with health, such as days for free access to parks and challenges to spend time outside. HPHP-themed social campaigns, such as those around mental health, were some of the most popular topics.
- Some of the key barriers to accessing the benefits of HPHP include affordability, transportation, accessibility for diverse audiences, the need for more time, and the need for more green space and continued protection of green space.
- Research on the role parks and protected areas play in health promotion found that 95% of respondents felt visits to natural areas were important for improving wellbeing and health.
- Research found that high restorative outcomes were experienced by participants, irrespective of length of stay, and environment type is not a determining factor. However, the perceived quality of the environment experienced was important.