Michael H Depledge

Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust, Truro, England, United Kingdom

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Publications (257)1022.5 Total impact

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    Matilda Annerstedt van den Bosch · Michael H Depledge
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    ABSTRACT: Background: The global disease burden resulting from climate change is likely to be substantial and will put further strain on public health systems that are already struggling to cope with demand. An up- stream solution, that of preventing climate change and associated adverse health effects, is a promising approach, which would create win-win-situations where both the environment and human health benefit. One such solution would be to apply methods of behaviour change to prompt pro-environmentalism, which in turn benefits health and wellbeing. Discussion: Based on evidence from the behavioural sciences, we suggest that, like many social behaviours, pro- environmental behaviour can be automatically induced by internal or external stimuli. A potential trigger for such automatic pro-environmental behaviour would be natural environments themselves. Summary: Health risks posed by anthropogenic climate change are large, unevenly distributed, and unpredictable. To ameliorate negative impacts, pro-environmental behaviours should be fostered. Potentially this could be achieved automatically through exposure to favourable natural environments, with an opportunity for cost-efficient nature-based solutions that provide benefits for both the environment and public health.
    Full-text · Article · Dec 2015 · BMC Public Health
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    Dataset: reis2015

    Full-text · Dataset · Nov 2015
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    ABSTRACT: Scientific investigations have progressively refined our understanding of the influence of the environment on human health, and the many adverse impacts that human activities exert on the environment, from the local to the planetary level. Nonetheless, throughout the modern public health era, health has been pursued as though our lives and lifestyles are disconnected from ecosystems and their component organisms. The inadequacy of the societal and public health response to obesity, health inequities, and especially global environmental and climate change now calls for an ecological approach which addresses human activity in all its social, economic and cultural complexity. The new approach must be integral to, and interactive, with the natural environment.
    Full-text · Article · Oct 2015 · Public health
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    ABSTRACT: The current study examined potential psycho-physiological benefits from exercising in simulated natural environments among a sample of post-menopausal women using a laboratory based protocol. Participants cycled on a stationary exercise bike for 15 min while facing either a blank wall (Control) or while watching one of three videos: Urban (Grey), Countryside (Green), Coast (Blue). Blood pressure, heart rate and affective responses were measured pre-post. Heart rate, affect, perceived exertion and time perception were also measured at 5, 10 and 15 min during exercise. Experience evaluation was measured at the end. Replicating most earlier findings, affective, but not physiological, outcomes were more positive for exercise in the simulated Green and, for the first time, Blue environment, compared to Control. Moreover, only the simulated Blue environment was associated with shorter perceived exercise duration than Control and participants were most willing to repeat exercise in the Blue setting. The current research extended earlier work by exploring the effects of "blue exercise" and by using a demographic with relatively low average levels of physical activity. That this sample of postmenopausal women were most willing to repeat a bout of exercise in a simulated Blue environment may be important for physical activity promotion in this cohort.
    Preview · Article · Sep 2015 · International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
  • Felicity Thomas · Michael Depledge
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    ABSTRACT: Recent decades have witnessed a global rise in the use of medical pharmaceuticals to combat disease. However, estimates suggest that over half of all medicines are prescribed, dispensed or sold inappropriately, and that half of all patients fail to take them as directed. Bringing together research from across the medical, natural and social sciences, this paper considers what we know about the causes, impacts and implications of medicine misuse in relation to health, the sustainable use of pharmaceuticals and their unintended effects in the environment. We suggest that greater insight and understanding of medicine misuse can be gained by integrating the biomedical-focused approaches used in public health with approaches that consider the social and environmental determinants of medical prescribing and consuming practices.
    No preview · Article · Sep 2015 · Social Science [?] Medicine
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    Philip L. Staddon · Michael H. Depledge
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    ABSTRACT: Addressing climate change and meeting our energy needs are two of the greatest challenges that societies face. Many obstacles hinder progress. The search for inexpensive and plentiful energy supplies appears to be at odds with climate change mitigation commitments. The desire for short-term (next 30 years) energy security has re-invigorated investment in fossil fuel technologies and led to a North American boom in hydraulic fracturing for shale gas (fracking). However, fracking contributes both directly and indirectly to greenhouse gas emissions, further driving anthropogenic climate change. Here we consider the implications and conclude that the expansion of fracking is incompatible with climate change mitigation.
    Full-text · Article · Jul 2015 · Environmental Science & Technology
  • Philip L Staddon · Michael H Depledge
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    ABSTRACT: Addressing climate change and meeting our energy needs are two of the greatest challenges that societies face. Many obstacles hinder progress. The search for inexpensive and plentiful energy supplies appears to be at odds with climate change mitigation commitments. The desire for short-term (next 30 years) energy security has re-invigorated investment in fossil fuel technologies and led to a North American boom in hydraulic fracturing for shale gas (fracking). However, fracking contributes both directly and indirectly to greenhouse gas emissions, further driving anthropogenic climate change. Here we consider the implications and conclude that the expansion of fracking is incompatible with climate change mitigation.
    No preview · Article · Jul 2015 · Journal of Environmental Science and Technology
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    ABSTRACT: Exposure to natural environments can have calming and stress-reducing effects on humans. Moreover, previous studies suggest that these benefits may be greater in areas with higher species richness. Our study took advantage of a “natural experiment” to examine people’s behavioral, physiological, and psychological reactions to increases in levels of marine biota in a large aquarium exhibit during three stages of restocking: Unstocked, Partially stocked, and Fully stocked. We found that increased biota levels were associated with longer spontaneous viewing of the exhibit, greater reductions in heart rate, greater increases in self-reported mood, and higher interest. We suggest that higher biota levels, even in managed settings, may be associated with important well-being and health benefits, particularly for individuals not able to access the natural analogues of managed environments.
    No preview · Article · Jul 2015 · Environment and Behavior
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    ABSTRACT: Many studies suggest that exposure to natural environments ('greenspace') enhances human health and wellbeing. Benefits potentially arise via several mechanisms including stress reduction, opportunity and motivation for physical activity, and reduced air pollution exposure. However, the evidence is mixed and sometimes inconclusive. One explanation may be that "greenspace" is typically treated as a homogenous environment type. However, recent research has revealed that different types and qualities of natural environments may influence health and wellbeing to different extents. This ecological study explores this issue further using data on land cover type, bird species richness, water quality and protected or designated status to create small-area environmental indicators across Great Britain. Associations between these indicators and age/sex standardised prevalence of both good and bad health from the 2011 Census were assessed using linear regression models. Models were adjusted for indicators of socio-economic deprivation and rurality, and also investigated effect modification by these contextual characteristics. Positive associations were observed between good health prevalence and the density of the greenspace types, "broadleaf woodland", "arable and horticulture", "improved grassland", "saltwater" and "coastal", after adjusting for potential confounders. Inverse associations with bad health prevalence were observed for the same greenspace types, with the exception of "saltwater". Land cover diversity and density of protected/designated areas were also associated with good and bad health in the predicted manner. Bird species richness (an indicator of local biodiversity) was only associated with good health prevalence. Surface water quality, an indicator of general local environmental condition, was associated with good and bad health prevalence contrary to the manner expected, with poorer water quality associated with better population health. Effect modification by income deprivation and urban/rural status was observed for several of the indicators. The findings indicate that the type, quality and context of 'greenspace' should be considered in the assessment of relationships between greenspace and human health and wellbeing. Opportunities exist to further integrate approaches from ecosystem services and public health perspectives to maximise opportunities to inform policies for health and environmental improvement and protection.
    Full-text · Article · Apr 2015 · International Journal of Health Geographics
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    ABSTRACT: The United States shale gas boom has precipitated global interest in the development of unconventional oil and gas resources. Recently, government ministers in the United Kingdom started granting licenses that will enable companies to begin initial exploration for shale gas. Meanwhile, concern is increasing among the scientific community about the potential impacts of shale gas and other types of unconventional natural gas development (UGD) on human health and the environment. Although significant data gaps remain, there has been a surge in the number of articles appearing in the scientific literature, nearly three-quarters of which has been published since the beginning of 2013. Important lessons can be drawn from the UGD experience in the United States. Here we explore these considerations and argue that shale gas development policies in the UK and elsewhere should be informed by empirical evidence generated on environmental, public health, and social risks. Additionally, policy decisions should take into account the measured effectiveness of harm reduction strategies as opposed to hypothetical scenarios and purported best practices that lack empirical support.
    Full-text · Article · Apr 2015 · Science of The Total Environment
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    Philip L Staddon · Michael Depledge

    Full-text · Chapter · Mar 2015
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    ABSTRACT: Increases in gross domestic product (GDP) beyond a threshold of basic needs do not lead to further increases in well-being. An explanation is that material consumption (MC) also results in negative health externalities. We assess how these externalities influence six factors critical for well-being: (i) healthy food; (ii) active body; (iii) healthy mind; (iv) community links; (v) contact with nature; and (vi) attachment to possessions. If environmentally sustainable consumption (ESC) were increasingly substituted for MC, thus improving well-being and stocks of natural and social capital, and sustainable behaviours involving non-material consumption (SBs-NMC) became more prevalent, then well-being would increase regardless of levels of GDP. In the UK, the individualised annual health costs of negative consumption externalities (NCEs) currently amount to £62 billion for the National Health Service, and £184 billion for the economy (for mental ill-health, dementia, obesity, physical inactivity, diabetes, loneliness and cardiovascular disease). A dividend is available if substitution by ESC and SBs-NMC could limit the prevalence of these conditions.
    Full-text · Article · Feb 2015 · International Journal of Environmental Health Research
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    ABSTRACT: This paper presents the results of our sixth annual horizon scan, which aims to identify phenomena that may have substantial effects on the global environment, but are not widely known or well understood. A group of professional horizon scanners, researchers, practitioners, and a journalist identified 15 topics via an iterative, Delphi-like process. The topics include a novel class of insecticide compounds, legalisation of recreational drugs, and the emergence of a new ecosystem associated with ice retreat in the Antarctic.
    Full-text · Article · Jan 2015 · Trends in Ecology & Evolution
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    ABSTRACT: Anthropogenic climate change is progressively transforming the environment despite political and technological attempts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to tackle global warming. Here we propose that greater insight and understanding of the health-related impacts of climate change can be gained by integrating the positivist approaches used in public health and epidemiology, with holistic social science perspectives on health in which the concept of ‘wellbeing’ is more explicitly recognised. Such an approach enables us to acknowledge and explore a wide range of more subtle, yet important health-related outcomes of climate change. At the same time, incorporating notions of wellbeing enables recognition of both the health co-benefits and dis-benefits of climate change adaptation and mitigation strategies across different population groups and geographical contexts. The paper recommends that future adaptation and mitigation policies seek to ensure that benefits are available for all since current evidence suggests that they are spatially and socially differentiated, and their accessibility is dependent on a range of contextually specific socio-cultural factors.
    Full-text · Article · Dec 2014 · Environmental Science & Policy
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    ABSTRACT: Background Recent findings suggest that individuals living near the coast are healthier than those living inland. Here we investigated whether this may be related to higher levels of physical activity among coastal dwellers in England, arising in part as a result of more visits to outdoor coastal settings. Method Participants (n = 183,755) were drawn from Natural England’s Monitor of Engagement with the Natural Environment Survey (2009-2012). Analyses were based on self-reported physical activity for leisure and transport. Results A small, but significant coastal proximity gradient was seen for the likelihood of achieving recommended guidelines of physical activity a week after adjusting for relevant area and individual level controls. This effect was statistically mediated by the likelihood of having visited the coast in the last seven days. Stratification by region, however, suggested that while the main effect was relatively strong for west coast regions, it was not significant for those in the east. Conclusions In general, our findings replicate and extend work from Australia and New Zealand. Further work is needed to explain the marked regional differences in the relationship between coastal proximity and physical activity in England to better understand the coast’s potential role as a public health resource.
    Full-text · Article · Oct 2014 · Preventive Medicine
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    F. Galgani · F. Claro · M. Depledge · C. Fossi
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    ABSTRACT: In its decision (2010/477/EU) relating to the European Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD, 2008/56/EC), the European Commission identified the following points as focuses for monitoring: (i) 10.1.1: Trends in the amount, source and composition of litter washed ashore and/or deposited on coastlines, (ii) 10.1.2: Trends in the amount and composition of litter in the water column and accumulation on the sea floor, (iii) 10.1.3: Trends in the amount, distribution and composition of micro-particles (mainly microplastics), and (iv) 10.2.1 Trends in the amount and composition of litter ingested by marine animals. Monitoring the impacts of litter will be considered further in 2014. At that time, the strategy will be discussed in the context of the Mediterranean Sea, providing information on constraints, protocols, existing harm and research needed to support monitoring efforts. The definition of targets and acceptable levels of harm must take all factors into account, whether entanglement, ingestion, the transport and release of pollutants, the transport of alien species and socio-economic impacts. It must also reflect on the practical deployment of "ingestion" measures (10.2.1). The analysis of existing data will reveal the potential and suitability of some higher trophic level organisms (fish, turtles, birds and mammals) for monitoring the adverse effects of litter. Sea turtles appear to be useful indicator species, but the definition of an ecological quality objective is still needed, as well as research on alternative potential indicator species.
    Full-text · Article · Sep 2014 · Marine environmental research
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    Philip L Staddon · hugh montgomery · michael depledge
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    ABSTRACT: opinion & comment Reply to 'A note of caution about the excess winter deaths measure' Staddon et al. reply—Hajat and Kovats 1 question our conclusion that climate change may no longer be assumed to bring a health dividend due to the warming of winters 2 . We accept that the excess winter deaths (EWDs) measure is not perfect; more work is required to develop better temperature and health metrics relevant to seasons and years (rather than extrapolating from daily observations) as has been done for air pollution 3 . However, we do not agree that the EWDs measure is so flawed as to prevent its use in drawing conclusions about relationships between weather and mortality. Cold-related deaths that occur outside the December–March period are irrelevant because our study has focussed on winter deaths. We did this specifically because winter deaths have been predicted to fall as winters warm. The Health Protection Agency stated that "the number of cold-related deaths will likely decrease due to milder winters" 4 . The UK Climate Change Risk Assessment 5 concluded that "increased winter temperatures may lead to decreased levels of mortality and morbidity due to cold". The estimate made by Hajat and Kovats that 70% of all cold-related deaths occur on days warmer than the 5°C threshold is misleading: this conclusion is based on the assumption that deaths occurring on days below 20°C are cold-related and deaths on days above 20°C are warm-related 6
    Full-text · Article · Jul 2014 · Nature Climate Change
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    ABSTRACT: Water is often a feature of preferred landscapes. Three experimental studies explored possible boundary conditions and extensions of this finding. Study 1 examined the role of weather and found that landscape preferences were moderated by climatic conditions. While waterscape preferences were significantly higher under clement than inclement conditions, urban/built landscape preferences were unaffected. Studies 2a and 2b explored reactions to sub-aquatic compared to above the waterline views, using colour and monochrome images respectively. In both cases, reactions to sub-aquatic scenes were broadly similar to those of green space. Findings are discussed in terms of possible evolutionary, cultural and personal mechanisms.
    No preview · Article · Jul 2014 · Landscape Research
  • Maria Cristina Fossi · Michael H Depledge

    No preview · Article · Jun 2014 · Marine Environmental Research
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    ABSTRACT: The European Marine Board recently published a position paper on linking oceans and human health as a strategic research priority for Europe. With this position paper as a reference, the March 2014 Cornwall Oceans and Human Health Workshop brought together key scientists, policy makers, funders, business, and non governmental organisations from Europe and the US to review the recent interdisciplinary and cutting edge research in oceans and human health specifically the growing evidence of the impacts of oceans and seas on human health and wellbeing (and the effects of humans on the oceans). These impacts are a complex mixture of negative influences (e.g. from climate change and extreme weather to harmful algal blooms and chemical pollution) and beneficial factors (e.g. from natural products including seafood to marine renewable energy and wellbeing from interactions with coastal environments). Integrated approaches across disciplines, institutions, and nations in science and policy are needed to protect both the oceans and human health and wellbeing now and in the future.
    Full-text · Article · Jun 2014 · Marine Environmental Research

Publication Stats

9k Citations
1,022.50 Total Impact Points


  • 2011-2015
    • Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust
      Truro, England, United Kingdom
  • 2008-2015
    • University of Exeter
      • Peninsula College of Medicine and Dentistry
      Exeter, England, United Kingdom
  • 2010-2011
    • Catholic University of Louvain
      Лувен-ла-Нев, Wallonia, Belgium
  • 2009-2010
    • The Peninsula College of Medicine and Dentistry
      Plymouth, England, United Kingdom
  • 1995-2009
    • Plymouth Marine Laboratory
      Plymouth, England, United Kingdom
    • Natural Environment Research Council
      Swindon, England, United Kingdom
  • 1994-2009
    • University of Plymouth
      • School of Biological Sciences
      Plymouth, ENG, United Kingdom
  • 2004-2006
    • Environment Agency UK
      Rotherdam, England, United Kingdom
    • VU University Amsterdam
      • Department of Animal Ecology
      Amsterdamo, North Holland, Netherlands
  • 2000
    • Roskilde University
      Roskilde, Zealand, Denmark
  • 1996
    • Università degli Studi di Siena
      • Department of Environment, Earth and Physical Sciences
      Siena, Tuscany, Italy
  • 1988-1996
    • Odense University Hospital
      • Molecular biology laboratory
      Odense, South Denmark, Denmark
  • 1984-1987
    • The University of Hong Kong
      • Department of Physiology
      Hong Kong, Hong Kong
    • University of London
      • School of Biological Sciences
      Londinium, England, United Kingdom
  • 1984-1985
    • Westfield State College
      Westfield, Massachusetts, United States