A scoping review of observational studies examining relationships between environmental behaviors and health behaviors

Jayne Hutchinson*, Stephanie Louise Prady, Michaela Smith, Piran Crawfurd Limond White, Hilary Graham

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Individual lifestyles are key drivers of both environmental change and chronic disease. We undertook a scoping review of peer-reviewed studies which examined associations between environmental and health behaviors of individuals in high-income countries. We searched EconLit, Medline, BIOSIS and the Social Science Citation Index. A total of 136 studies were included. The majority were USA-based cross-sectional studies using self-reported measures. Most of the evidence related to travel behavior, particularly active travel (walking and cycling) and physical activity (92 studies) or sedentary behaviors (19 studies). Associations of public transport use with physical activity were examined in 18 studies, and with sedentary behavior in one study. Four studies examined associations between car use and physical activity. A small number included other environmental behaviors (food-related behaviors (n = 14), including organic food, locally-sourced food and plate waste) and other health behaviors ((n = 20) smoking, dietary intake, alcohol). These results suggest that research on individual environmental and health behaviors consists largely of studies examining associations between travel mode and levels of physical activity. There appears to be less research on associations between other behaviors with environmental and health impacts, and very few longitudinal studies in any domain.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4833-4858
Number of pages26
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (IJERPH)
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 5 May 2015

Bibliographical note

© 2015 by the authors; licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).


  • Lifestyle
  • pro-environmental behavior
  • health-related behavior
  • active travel
  • public transport use
  • physical activity
  • consumption

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