Children who grow up around greenspace have better mental health as adults

A new study released February 2019 reveals that children who grow up surrounded by green space have a 55% lower risk of developing various mental health disorders later in life.

How did they do it?

Researchers from Aarhus University used satellite data to determine how much greenspace surrounded the homes of almost one million Danish children.

The researchers then compared children living with the highest level of green space to children living with the lowest level of green space.

What did they find?

They found that children who live in the lowest level of greenspace had 55% greater risk for developing mental health disorders as adults (the study looked at 16 different mental health disorders).

Lead researcher Kristine Engemann, a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Bioscience and the National Centre for Register-Based Research at Aarhus University states that:

“With our dataset, we show that the risk of developing a mental disorder decreases incrementally the longer you have been surrounded by green space from birth and up to the age of 10. Green space throughout childhood is therefore extremely important”

The researchers argue that integrating natural environments into urban planning is a promising approach to improving mental health globally.  

Author quotes and material sourced from: Aarhus University.
All content has been edited for readability and length.

Journal Reference: Kristine Engemann, Carsten Bøcker Pedersen, Lars Arge, Constantinos Tsirogiannis, Preben Bo Mortensen, Jens-Christian Svenning. Residential green space in childhood is associated with lower risk of psychiatric disorders from adolescence into adulthoodProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2019; 201807504 DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1807504116.

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