Nature helps kids grow into happier adults, say Danish researchers who followed nearly a million children for eighteen years.
The number of studies proving what Sigurd Olson called “the intangible values” of nature is growing every day, and I’ll start sharing those findings as I come across them. Here’s Sara Burrows, reporting on the Danish study for Return to Now:
The researchers used satellite images to determine how much green space surrounded the childhood residences of the participants.
The more vegetation they could view from their homes, the better their mental health outcomes.
Being located within a reasonable drive from wilderness areas, public parks, and urban green spaces, didn’t seem to make a difference, only what they could see and touch in their own front or backyard.
The results were also “dosage dependent” — the more of one’s childhood spent close to greenery, the lower the risk of mental health problems.
Smaller studies have found lack of green space increases the risk of mood disorders and schizophrenia and can even affect cognitive development.
But this is the first to find green space is a factor similar in strength to other known influences on mental health, such as history of mental health disorders in the family, or socioeconomic status, the authors say.
Photo: kids walking on park path, by Jamie Taylor via Unsplash.
This post relates to what Sigurd Olson called “the intangible values,” and belongs to the teal portion of the singing wilderness spiritual map.