Greener Pastures Lead to Healthier Living

   By drodriguez  Jan 07, 2009

They swing, they slide, they run, and they play.  All in all a trip to the park can be the highlight of any child’s day and it’s also a good way to get all that energy out before turning in for the night.  But rounding the kids up for a trip to the park may be even more productive than you think. 

A recent study reported about in Time magazine reveals that inner-city kids who live closer to green spaces gained 13% less weight than kids living in the more concrete neighborhoods with fewer trees.  It’s possible this study tells us something about the obesity epidemic that has come about in the last 20 ? 30 years.  The continuous structural development and slow elimination of more and more green spaces could be playing a part in our children’s health. 

The idea that more parks equal more play and exercise is a simple one, but there are even more benefits that are being discovered.  Environmental psychologists have shown in their research that green spaces have cognitive benefits for children with attention-deficit/hyper activity disorder (ADHD).  When children with ADHD involved in a study simply read outdoors in a green setting their symptoms improved. 

The benefits of parks and greenery don’t stop with children.  Adults can also benefit from spending some time outdoors by reducing stress and body mass.  After analyzing 3,000 Tokyo residents living around walkable green spaces a greater lifespan among senior citizens was found in these areas.

What do you think of the study finding that children who live near parks are healthier?

Do you and your family reap the benefits of the green outdoors where you live?


Make a Comment

grayce by grayce | SPRING HILL, TN
Mar 26, 2009

It's just sad that we have to fight for nature to be left alone. We have enough buildings already!

Texmel by Texmel | COLORADO SPGS, CO
Jan 17, 2009

I agree! Our son LOVES park time; we also attend programs at our city's nature centers and, at least in warmer weather or snow, spend several afternoons a week outside playing with the neighborhood kids. There is a great book called "Last Child in the Woods" that talks about how crucial it is that we get our kids outdoors. We are actually having our child's next bday party at a nature center!

momofbestbaby by momofbestbaby | omaha, NE
Jan 16, 2009

I agree completely. I take my son out all the time. He is 6 and we go to the local botanical gardens, parks. forest. He loves it.

am_i_lost by am_i_lost | Centralia, IL
Jan 16, 2009

I agree 100%!! I take my grandchildren to the park or just out in the front yard to play any time the weather permits. Trying to keep them from being glued to the TV or X Box. That drives me crazy to see kids that won't even look away from the TV to speak because of some game or show!!! Now how healthy can that

WVMom00 by WVMom00 | Morgantown, WV
Jan 11, 2009

Children need to be outside and playing, we as parents need to connect with our inner child and remember how to play with our kids and run around and play and be active. Might help with all those weight issues also. Making memories our kids will never forget and having fun not matter our age! We defintely need more green everywhere

pgarcia74 by pgarcia74 | McAllen, TX
Jan 09, 2009

It's funny that we need a study to learn about something that makes sense. I was a skinny kid because I was out running and playing all the time. I was happy and healthy. Children have such different lives today.

nanners520 by nanners520 | LINO LAKES, MN
Jan 08, 2009

It makes perfect sense that living near usable outdoor spaces would impact our health. A parent is less likely to take a child to the park to play if they have to drive there. If there is a park down the street, they would go more often. More play=healthier lifestyle. I am an elementary teacher and can tell what a difference it makes in a child's whole attitude if they are not able to play outside during recess. They are less able to learn! I think it is so important to keep outdoor spaces for activity!

mommyleah by mommyleah | souderton, PA
Jan 08, 2009

I definately agree. I've worked in childcare for about 7 years and every winter (in PA it's cold, cold, cold) the children get a little grumpier, they sleep less, and gain more weight than in the summer months.