Home greenery boosts children's mental health

Wednesday 17th April 2024 07:07 EDT

Study suggests green spaces may help young children avoid feeling blue.

Research revealed that children aged between two and five exhibited fewer signs of loneliness, anxiety, and low mood when they resided within three-quarters of a mile of abundant vegetation, such as woodlands or parks. Additionally, they were less inclined to be withdrawn in social settings.

Nissa Towe-Goodman, a researcher from the Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute at the University of North Carolina, said: “Our research ... suggests that the early childhood years are a crucial time for exposure to green spaces.” Parents of more than 2,000 children in America aged from two to 11 were asked to rate their child’s emotional and behavioural symptoms. The researchers then used satellite data to assess levels of vegetation around their homes.

Researchers discovered that increased levels of green spaces within approximately a 20-minute walk from a child's home correlated with reduced symptoms of anxiety and depression during early childhood.
This connection remained significant even after considering factors such as neighbourhood socioeconomic status, parental education levels, and age at which children were born. However, this association was not observed in older children, possibly due to their increased time spent away from home at school.

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