Greener spaces better for childhood development

A team from the Department of Bioscience at Aarhus University in Denmark found that growing up in green spaces is a factor in one’s mental health. Data say that children who grew up with few green spaces around him/her had an estimated 55% risk of developing a psychiatric disorder.

The study was made possible by the use of a high-resolution satellite to calculate the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) around more than 950,000 homes. The Danish Civil Registration System extended their services to provide mental health and socioeconomic status of almost a million people for the experiment.

All sorts of green space such as parks, backyards, and gardens benefited children. The benefits are dependent on how big the green space nearby is. The link between growing up in green surroundings and decreased risk of psychiatric disorders is still unidentifiable but it sure is positive in nature. Unlike living in urban areas, which leads to a higher risk of psychiatric disorder, green spaces actually help in psychological restoration.

Engemann hopes urban planners and government officials would take this study into account to lessen the number of mental disorder cases, which is currently on the rise as per the data of the World Health Organization. She says that growing more trees and other greenery will actually have long-term health benefits to the cities and the people living in it.

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