A study conducted in Metro Vancouver finds that the more green space and less air pollution children have in their neighbourhoods, the less likely they are to develop attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Less green space and more air pollution leads to a higher likelihood of ADHD.
Why does it matter?
ADHD affects five to 10 per cent of children and adolescents. Researchers from UBC’s school of population and public health and faculty of forestry explored associations between the disorder and environmental exposures while children’s brains are developing and vulnerable.
This study was the first to investigate green space, air pollution and noise in combination. It found that the combination of sparse green space and high air pollution can increase risk of ADHD by up to 62 per cent, but an abundance of green space can compensate for high air pollution and vice versa. Noise was not associated with ADHD.
Who needs to know?
Urban planners and municipal governments hold sway over green space and air pollution, where policies can potentially impact the long-term mental health of citizens. Schools and parents of young children can encourage more time spent outdoors in nature.
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