Living close to green spaces is associated with better attention in children

October 26, 2017, Barcelona Institute for Global Health
Child and green spaces. Credit: michael-podger/Creative commons

Natural surroundings, including green spaces, may be beneficial for brain development in children, but evidence is still limited. A previous ISGlobal study indicated that green spaces within and surrounding schools could enhance cognitive development in children between seven and 10 years of age. In the current study, the authors expanded on this finding by evaluating the impact of greenness surrounding all the residential addresses of children since birth and characterizing cognitive development at earlier stages in life.

The analysis, published in Environment Health Perspectives, was based on data from 1,500 of the INMA - Environment and Childhood Project cohort in Sabadell and Valencia, collected during 2003-2013. The ISGlobal team analysed surrounding greenness at 100, 300 and 500 metres distance near the homes of children at birth, four to five years old, and seven years old. Two types of attention tests were performed at four to five years and seven years of age. The research shows that children with higher greenness around their homes had better scores in the attention tests.

Payam Dadvand, ISGlobal researcher and first author of the study, says, "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 ," says Dadvand.

Jordi Sunyer, study coordinator and head of the Child Health Programme at ISGlobal, points out that "the possibility that exposure to different types of vegetation might have different impacts on neurodevelopment remains an open question." Therefore, Sunyer believes further studies should be done in other settings with different climates and vegetation.

"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 future generations' brains," adds the study coordinator.

Explore further: Air pollution exposure on home-to-school walking routes reduces the development of working memory in children

More information: Payam Dadvand et al, Lifelong Residential Exposure to Green Space and Attention: A Population-based Prospective Study, Environmental Health Perspectives (2017). DOI: 10.1289/EHP694

Related Stories

Air pollution exposure on home-to-school walking routes reduces the development of working memory in children

October 6, 2017
A study led by the Barcelona Institute for Global Health (ISGlobal) has demonstrated that exposure to air pollution on the way to school can have damaging effects on children's cognitive development. The study, published ...

Green spaces found to increase birth weight

July 28, 2014
Mothers who live near green spaces deliver babies with significantly higher birth weights, according to a new study, "Green Spaces and Adverse Pregnancy Outcomes" published in the journal, Occupational and Environmental Medicine.

City kids with asthma suffer less if they live near a park

September 8, 2017
Milan, Italy: Children with asthma who live in the city may have fewer days with symptoms the closer they live to parks and green spaces, according to research to be presented at the European Respiratory Society International ...

Green schoolyards offer physical and mental health benefits for children

September 15, 2017
A growing body of evidence supports the claim that access to safe, natural areas improves health across a wide variety of areas, including heart health, mental health, weight management, ADHD, and stress among children. A ...

Recommended for you

Teens get more sleep with later school start time, researchers find

December 12, 2018
When Seattle Public Schools announced that it would reorganize school start times across the district for the fall of 2016, the massive undertaking took more than a year to deploy. Elementary schools started earlier, while ...

Study highlights potential benefits of continuous EEG monitoring for infant patients

December 12, 2018
A recent retrospective study evaluating continuous electroencephalography (cEEG) of children in intensive care units (ICUs) found a higher than anticipated number of seizures. The work also identified several conditions closely ...

Scientists have identified and modelled a distinct biology for paediatric AML

December 11, 2018
Scientists have identified and modelled a distinct biology for paediatric acute myeloid leukaemia, one of the major causes of death in children.

Expert proposes method to help premature infants thrive in the hospital

December 11, 2018
Even when they're not actively feeding, infants are perpetually sucking on toys, pacifiers, their own fingers—whatever they can get ahold of.

Siblings of children with autism or ADHD are at elevated risk for both disorders

December 10, 2018
Later-born siblings of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) or attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are at elevated risk for both disorders, a new study led by Meghan Miller, assistant professor in the ...

RSV study reveals age when infants are most vulnerable to asthma

December 5, 2018
New research suggests a maternal vaccination against RSV should be augmented with active immunisation in a child's first two years to reduce the onset of asthma.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.