Brandon R. Kim, MD, MPH; Maggie L. Grabow, PhD, MPH; Sarah Walters, BS; Sabrina Rateike, BS; Mary Hitchcock, MA, MLS; Bruce Barrett, MD, PhD
WMJ. Published early online May 25, 2023.
Introduction: Climate change poses enormous threats to humanity and much of life on earth. Many of the behavioral patterns that drive climate change also contribute to the epidemics of obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.
Objectives: The primary objective of this study was to compile and categorize the literature on interventions aimed at modifying individual behaviors to promote both personal health and environmental sustainability. Secondary objectives were to help define the emerging field of behavioral eco-wellness and to discuss future directions, including the need for assessment tools and analytic strategies.
Methods: A scoping review was conducted to locate, categorize, and interpret current scientific studies of interventions aimed at changing individual behaviors to promote both personal health and environmental sustainability.
Results: Other than a pilot study that this team previously conducted, nothing was found that strictly fit the inclusion criteria. However, we did find 16 relevant studies that fit neatly within 4 broad topical areas: active transportation, dietary intake, indoor air quality, and green space immersion.
Discussion: While this systematic scoping review found little meeting original criteria, we did find that 4 separate fields of study are converging on a scientific area that we are calling behavioral eco-wellness, defined as the simultaneous pursuit of both personal health and environmental sustainability. The emerging field could provide a conceptual framework and methodological toolkit for those seeking to enhance sustainability while supporting health behaviors, including dietary intake. This, in turn, could help to inform and motivate the urgent action needed to confront both climate change and the epidemics of obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.