Exposure to nature during childhood leads to better mental health

Exposure to nature during childhood leads to better mental health
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Did you remember the last time you played in nature as a child? If no, then chances are that your mental health could be affected.

Did you remember the last time you played in nature as a child? If no, then chances are that your mental health could be affected. In a recent study, it has been found that adults who had close contact with the environment during childhood have better mental health. The study was published in the journal, 'International Journal of Environmental Health Research' Exposure to natural outdoor environments has been associated with several health benefits, including better cognitive development and better mental and physical health. However, few studies have explored the impact of childhood exposure to natural environments on mental health and vitality in adulthood.

Furthermore, studies have more frequently considered green spaces (gardens, forests, urban parks) than blue spaces (canals, ponds, creeks, rivers, lakes, beaches, etc.). This study was conducted within the framework of the PHENOTYPE project with data from almost 3,600 adults from Barcelona (Spain), Doetinchem (Netherlands), Kaunas (Lithuania) and Stoke-on-Trent (United Kingdom).

Adult participants answered a questionnaire on frequency of use of natural spaces during childhood, including purposeful hiking in natural parks- and non-purposeful playing in the backyard- visits. They were also asked about their current amount, use and satisfaction with residential natural spaces, as well as the importance they give to such spaces.

The mental health of the participants in terms of nervousness and feelings of depression in the past four weeks, as well as their vitality-energy and fatigue levels- were assessed through a psychological test.

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