Researchers from the University of Washington, Indiana University, Purdue University and Indiana University School of Medicine followed more than 3,800 children between the ages of 3 and 16 for over two years. The predominantly African American and poor children’s neighborhoods were measured for “greenness” by using satellite imaging data of vegetation. Janice F. Bell, PhD, University of Washington assistant professor in the department of Health Services at the School of Public Health and Community Medicine, explains the results:
This study’s findings align with previous research linking exposure to green landscapes with health improvements. Among adults, greenness is associated with less stress and lower [body mass index], improved self-reported health and shorter post-operative recovery periods. Among children and youth, the positive health effects of green landscapes include improved cognitive functioning and reduced attention deficit hyperactivity disorder symptoms.
The study also found children from green city neighborhoods were slimmer, but the study did not consider the ways children live and play in urban environments.