Nature and its beneficial effects on children



by   |  VIEW 124

Nature and its beneficial effects on children

Nature and Children's Health: A Systematic Review is a very interesting study, which tries to highlight all the benefits that contact with nature can have with children. Published on the Pediatrics, we can read: "Daily outdoor play is encouraged by the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Existing evidence is unclear on the independent effect of nature exposures on child health. We systematically evaluated evidence regarding the relationship between nature contact and children's health. The database search was conducted by using PubMed, Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature, PsychInfo, ERIC, Scopus, and Web of Science in February 2021.

We followed the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyzes guidelines. In all searches, the first element included nature terms; the second included child health outcome terms. Of the 10 940 studies identified, 296 were included.

Study quality and risk of bias were assessed. The strongest evidence for type of nature exposure was residential green space studies (n = 147, 50%). The strongest evidence for the beneficial health effects of nature was for physical activity (n = 108, 32%) and cognitive, behavioral, or mental health (n = 85, 25%).

Physical activity was objectively measured in 55% of studies, and 41% of the cognitive, behavioral, or mental health studies were experimental in design. Types of nature exposures and health outcomes and behaviors were heterogenous.

Risk of selection bias was moderate to high for all studies. Most studies were cross-sectional (n = 204, 69%), limiting our ability to assess causality. Current literature supports a positive relationship between nature contact and children's health, especially for physical activity and mental health, both public health priorities.

The evidence supports pediatricians in advocating for equitable nature contact for children in places where they live, play, and learn."

Mental health consequences of urban air pollution?

Air quality is a fundamental factor in everyday life, for our health and that of our beloved planet.

Poor air quality can have negative repercussions on both our physical and mental health. The study: Mental health consequences of urban air pollution: prospective population-based longitudinal survey, published on the Social psychiatry and psychiatric epidemiology, said us: "The World Health Organization (WHO) recently ranked air pollution as the major environmental cause of premature death .

However, the significant potential health and societal costs of poor mental health in relation to air quality are not represented in the WHO report due to limited evidence. We aimed to test the hypothesis that long-term exposure to air pollution is associated with poor mental health.

A prospective longitudinal population-based mental health survey was conducted of 1698 adults living in 1075 households in South East London, from 2008 to 2013. High-resolution quarterly average air pollution concentrations of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and oxides (NOx), ozone ( O3), particulate matter with an aerodynamic diameter <10 μm (PM10) and <2.5 μm (PM2.5) were linked to the home addresses of the study participants.

Associations with mental health were analyzed with the use of multilevel generalized linear models, after adjusting for large number of confounders, including the individuals' socioeconomic position and exposure to road-traffic noise.

We found robust evidence for interquartile range increases in PM2.5, NOx and NO2 to be associated with 18-39% increased odds of common mental disorders, 19-30% increased odds of poor physical symptoms and 33% of psychotic experiences only for PM10 .

These longitudinal associations were more pronounced in the subset of non-movers for NO2 and NOx. The findings suggest that traffic-related air pollution is adversely affecting mental health. Whilst causation cannot be proved, this work suggests substantial morbidity from mental disorders could be avoided with improved air quality.