The greener your child’s surroundings, the better the health benefits they’ll reap, a study indicates. Namely, children who grow up spending a lot of time in nature will enjoy a better mental health later on in life and be happier adults.
The study points out that if a child grows up surrounded by nature, trees, forests, and plants rather than buildings, he/she will have a lower risk of mental health problems in adolescence and adulthood.
How Was the Study Done?
For the purposes of the study, the team of research from Denmark closely followed 900,000 children from the year of 1985 to the year of 2013.
The ones who grew up with the lowest amount of greenery had 55 percent higher chance of a psychiatric disorder than the ones who lived in greener areas.
The greenery level was determined with the help of satellite images. The more vegetation the children saw from their homes, the better their mental health was.
It’s important to note that a close location to a wilderness area, a public park or another green space didn’t make a difference-what mattered was what was in their yards.
The results also depended on the time which the children spent surrounded by the greenery- and, the more time they spent, the better their mental health was.
This is not the first study which shows a link between greenery surroundings and mental health. Other studies have concluded that an area which lacks greenery increases the chance for mood disorders, schizophrenia, and poor cognitive development.
Why Are Urban Environments not Good for Us?
According to IFL Science, mental health is negatively affected by the major characteristics of urban environments today, i.e. the high noise and crowd exposure and insufficient greenery.
What’s more, children who lead a sedentary lifestyle also experience poorer physical health, lower self-esteem, and higher BMIs.
According to the research team, more studies are necessary to confirm why those who grow up surrounded by nature have a higher chance of becoming happier adults.
Some experts suggest that the potential reason for this is related to our evolution, i.e. how we evolved throughout the ages living in nature.