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New Research Suggests That Living Near Green Spaces Is Linked To Enhanced Mental Health And Fewer Emotional Problems Among Young Children

sushytska - stock.adobe.com - illustrative purposes only, not the actual person

Spending time outside has been shown to help adults decrease levels of depression and anxiety, as well as lessen feelings of anger and stress.

Now, a new study suggests living in greener spaces helps the mental health of kids, too.

The findings show that young children’s mental health is linked to spending time in green spaces, and kids who grew up around nature – including natural environments like forests and parks – had fewer emotional problems from ages 2 to 5.

This discovery highlights just how important natural surroundings might be for children’s mental well-being during early life.

Past research has consistently underscored the significance of natural surroundings in promoting mental well-being throughout different agree brackets. Nonetheless, there were few studies that specifically delved into the impact of natural environments on very young children’s mental health.

So, this study was funded by the National Institutes of Health’s Environmental Influences on Child Health Outcomes program and sought to illuminate the effects of residing in green spaces from infancy on emotional challenges like depression and anxiety during the developmental stages of a child’s life.

To start, the research team asked parents about their 2 to 11-year-old kids’ behavior and checked how much greenery was around their homes when they were born using satellite data – linking the behavioral reports with vegetation density.

The researchers studied 2,103 children from 199 counties spanning 41 U.S. states, which helped the study cover a wide range of socioeconomic and geographic backgrounds.

The team also used a measure known as the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) to see how much live vegetation was close to each child’s home – helping to measure how much exposure to green spaces each child had since birth.

sushytska – stock.adobe.com – illustrative purposes only, not the actual person

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