Greener childhood is better
Sunday, 03 March 2019

Residential green space in childhood is associated with lower risk of psychiatric disorders from adolescence into adulthood



Growing up in urban environments is associated with risk of developing psychiatric disorders, but the underlying mechanisms are unknown. Green space can provide mental health benefits and possibly lower risk of psychiatric disorders. This nation-wide study covering >900,000 people shows that children who grew up with the lowest levels of green space had up to 55% higher risk of developing a psychiatric disorder independent from effects of other known risk factors. Stronger association between cumulated green space and risk during childhood constitutes evidence that prolonged presence of green space is important. Our findings affirm that integrating natural environments into urban planning is a promising approach to improve mental health and reduce the rising global burden of psychiatric disorders.