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Children living in isolation from nature are at risk of emotional and behavioral problems.
- Researchers believe – low exposure to greenery affects mental health
Being close to nature is not only good for health, it also does not cause emotional and behavioral problems. Especially children who have better exposure to greenery, their intellectual development is also good. Conversely, children living in urban areas and isolated from nature are at risk of emotional and behavioral problems. This claim has been made in the study of University College London (UCL) and Imperial College.
Researchers say that with the end of the epidemic, this becomes even more important, because during this period most of the time of children is spent indoors. During the study, the mental health of 3500 children aged 9 to 15 years was compared. According to study author and professor at UCL, Kate Jones, this age group was chosen because it is a critical time in children’s reasoning, understanding of the world and development.
These children were asked questions about emotional problems, behaviour, hyperactivity and peer behavior. Satellite data was used to measure children’s daily contact with nature. The natural environment was also divided into two parts, the first being a green space (trees, green fields and parks) and the second blue space (closer to the river, pond and sea). The results were astonishing.
Those close to the green had higher intellectual development, in addition to a 17% reduction in their risk of emotional and behavioral problems. This advantage was not shown in the blue space. According to the researchers, there is strong evidence that the natural environment plays an important role in the mental and intellectual development of children and adolescents, especially as they enter adulthood.
Living close to greenery also improves mental health: Expert
According to the study’s lead author and professor at UCL, Kate Jones, the results make it clear that audio-visual exposure from plants and animals has psychological benefits. Researchers believe that walking and physical activity in green space releases endorphins (the hormones associated with happiness). It improves mood and reduces anxiety and stress. Traveling and spending time in the natural environment has a positive effect on mental health.