Today’s Solutions: January 31, 2023

If you’re a regular Optimist Daily reader, you know about the tremendous cognitive and mental health benefits of green space. Now, yet another study has confirmed the link between nature and brain development and finds that access to green space helps children meet critical development milestones.

Researchers from the University of British Columbia analyzed the developmental scores of 27,372 children in urban Vancouver. They looked at their performance in kindergarten and compared that with estimated green space near their homes from birth to age five. They also looked at traffic-related air pollution and community noise.

Study author Ingrid Jarvis explains that although most children performed well on cognitive assessments, “those children living in a residential location with more vegetation and richer natural environments showed better overall development than their peers with less greenspace.”

The researchers believe that the link between green space and cognitive development is due to the adverse effects that air and noise pollution have on sleep and the central nervous system.

UBC research associate, Matilda van den Bosch said, “Time in nature can benefit everyone, but if we want our children to have a good head start, it’s important to provide an enriching environment through nature contact. Access to green space from a very young age can help ensure good social, emotional, and mental development among children.”

Source study: The Lancet Planetary Health – Assessing the association between lifetime exposure to greenspace and early childhood development and the mediation effects of air pollution and noise in Canada: a population-based birth cohort study

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