Living Close to Green Spaces is Associated with Better Attention in Children

Living Close to Green Spaces is Associated with Better Attention in Children

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A new study has analysed the effect that lifelong exposure to residential greenness has on kids’ behaviour.

A while ago, the Barcelona Institute for Global Health (ISGlobal) discovered that green spaces in and around schools could enhance cognitive development in children between 7 and 10 years of age. In the current study, the authors expanded on this finding. They tested the impact of greenness surrounding the homes of the children and what effect this had on their cognitive development.

The analysis was based on data from 1,500 children from Sabadell and Valencia, collected during 2003-2013. The ISGlobal team analysed residential surrounding greenness – at 100, 300 and 500 metres distance – at birth, 4-5 years and 7 years of age. Two types of attention tests were performed at 4-5 and 7 years of age. The research shows that children with higher greenness around their homes had better scores in the attention tests.

Says Payam Dadvand, ISGlobal researcher, “This is the first time that the impact of lifelong residential exposure to green spaces on attention capacity in children has been studied. These results underline the importance of green areas in cities for children’s health and brain development.”

An here’s another nugget of information for you: There is a possibility that exposure to different types of vegetation might have different impacts on neurodevelopment. Therefore, Sunyer considers further studies should be done in other settings with different climates and vegetation.

Jordi Sunyer, the study coordinator said, “Green spaces in cities promote social connections and physical activity and reduce exposure to air pollution and noise, and are therefore essential for the development of the future generations’ brains.”

Here in Ireland, we are known for our green environment, but not so much in urban environments. It is time to green up our inner cities?

 

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