Children who grow up in less green environments are up to 55% more likely to develop mental disorders later than those who grow up in greener places, according to a study from Aarhus University in Denmark and published this week in the US Peer-Review Journal PNAS.
To determine this, the researchers examined Danish satellite imagery from 1985 to 2013 to determine the amount of green space surrounding the children's home. They then compared this to the risk of 16 mental disorders in adulthood, including substance abuse, OCD, eating disorders, bipolar disorder, depression, and personality disorders.
As a result, those who lived in capitals with the lowest green space tended to be the most at risk of mental disorders, while those living in rural areas with more green spaces had the lowest risk. This was true even taking into account socio-economic factors and parental history of mental illness.
In addition, the longer you stay in green spaces during your childhood, the better your chances of staying in good mental health.
"The risk of developing a mental disorder gradually decreases as you are surrounded by green spaces since birth and up to the age of 10," says author of the 39, study, Kristine Engemann, postdoctoral fellow at the Department of Bioscience and the National Registry Center. research based at the University of Aarhus in Denmark. "Green spaces throughout childhood are therefore extremely important."
Of course, this study does not prove causation. And you can live in a big city and live near many green spaces. The study revealed that this was as beneficial to your future mental health as being surrounded by the same green in a rural area.
This is not the first study to show that green spaces can improve people's mental health. A 50-minute walk through nature reduces anxiety and stimulates happiness, a recent study in Landscape & Urban Planning reveals, and an exposure to nature "reduces mental fatigue and the resulting feelings of irritability" , according to a separate report. published in Environment & Behavior.
Overall, there is ample evidence to suggest that urban environments are correlated with a more serious mental illness. "Nearly a century of research has shown a higher risk of mental disorders in people living in urban or rural areas," according to a study published in the journal Epigenetics, which examines the genetic origins of diseases and health problems. health.
So what about greener pastures that promote health? This is not entirely clear, but some scientists suggest that it can change us physically, by differentiating our brain activity, lowering blood pressure and more.