There is something with nature that calms our souls. It brings comfort and helps to easily put us to sleep. That’s why research says it is good for children. Here’s why.
It reminds us of the age-old question: is it better to live in the city or the country?
The answer has always been, “depends on who you ask,” but a recent study out of Denmark says that it is better for one’s mental health if they are close to dense vegetation.
A study with over 900,000 respondents published in PNAS showed that “children who grew up with the lowest levels of green space had up to 55% higher risk of developing a psychiatric disorder independent from effects of other known risk factors.”
After studying powerful population data taken by the Danish government, the researchers show boldness.
“If we were talking about a new medicine that had this kind of effect the buzz would be huge,” Kelly Lambert, a neuroscientist at the University of Richmond, said NPR.
To know how much green space surrounded the areas where the participants grew up, researchers looked at satellite images.
The Research About the Effects of Nature
According to the study, living in a forest is not the only option. A healthy state of mind is also possible when you reside close to wilderness areas, public parks, and urban green spaces.
People of higher socioeconomic status tend to live in areas with better access to parks and have the means to protect their children from some mental disorders.
Therefore, to weigh the respective addition of green space against socioeconomic backgrounds, the researchers factored in income data as well.
They also found that the results were “dosage-dependent.” The greater the percentage of someone’s childhood spent near green spaces, the less the chance of developing mental illness.
Lambert suggests that connections to green spaces may be an advantage for our mental health because humans grew surrounded in nature.
While the findings suggest the ability that comes from human beings in their natural environment.
Kristine Engemann, the biologist who led the study is cautious about saying that access to green spaces causes positive mental health results.
“It’s purely correlational, so we can’t definitively say that growing up near green space reduces risk of mental illness,” Engemann told NPR.
Indeed, further research is needed to discover the root causes of how mental health is affected by topography. However, the article provided a great argument that more parks should be built in urban areas.