Forest Health Programs: An Analysis of Regional Healthcare Planning of Regional Public Health Centers in Korea

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Insook Lee, PhD, RN
Sungjae Kim, RN, PhD
Kyung-Sook Bang, PhD, RN
Heeseung Choi, PhD, MPH, RN
Chin-Kang Koh, PhD, RN
Jieun Kim, RN, MSN
Hyori Kim, RN, BSN
Sunyoung Kim, RN, BSN
College of Nursing, Seoul National University, Seoul, South Korea

Learning Objective 1: The learner will be able to understand the forest program by region(si,gun,gu), health promotion business, and life span based on public institutions in Korea.

Learning Objective 2: The learner will be able to understand the forest program's attributes and contents based on public institutions in Korea.

Purpose: The object of this study is to identify and analyze forest health programs included in regional healthcare planning of public health centers in Korea.

Methods: We analyzed regional healthcare planning (fiscal year 2011- 2014) of 227 regional public health centers, excluding planning from 3 regions which could not be located (98.7% of all regions nationwide). Among various health programs provided by regional public health centers, only health promotion programs (both general and special) were included for analysis.  We obtained and analyzed the healthcare care planning from July to November 2012.

Results: Among the programs analyzed, only 35 programs from 29 regions were found to utilize forest for their healthcare planning. Among 21 health promotion projects of public health centers, 8 programs utilized forest. The most commonly targeted health problems were atopy and asthma. Particularly, atopy- asthma treatment and health promotion programs were the main focus for school-aged children and forest-walking program was the main area for adults and the elderly. More specific forest health programs included ‘Atopi prevention and healing program’, ‘program for cancer patients,’ ‘program for metabolic syndrome,’ ‘promotion of healthy behaviors,’ ‘addiction treatment,’ ‘prevention of Alzheimer’s disease,’ and ‘mental health promotion programs.’

Conclusion: While increasing number of forest health programs are proposed and conducted in Korea, the numbers and scope of the programs are still limited. The present study enabled us to identify gaps in existing programs and directions for future research and policy implications.