Parents, take note! Children who grow up close to parks and green spaces may develop better attention span, a study suggests. Researchers from Barcelona Institute for Global Health (ISGlobal) in Spain studied data from 1,500 children, collected during 2003-2013. Previous studies have already indicated that green spaces within and surrounding schools could enhance cognitive development in children between seven and 10 years of age. The study, published in the journal Environment Health Perspectives, analysed residential surrounding greenness – at 100, 300 and 500 metres distance near the homes of children at birth, four to five years old, and seven years old. Researchers performed two types of attention tests at four to five years and seven years of age. The team found that children with higher greenness around their homes had better scores in the attention tests. “These results underline the importance of green areas in cities for children’s health and brain development,” said Payam Dadvand, researcher at ISGlobal.
“The possibility that exposure to different types of vegetation might have different impacts on neurodevelopment remains an open question,” said Jordi Sunyer from ISGlobal. Green spaces in cities promote social connections and physical activity and reduce exposure to air pollution and noise, and are therefore essential for the development of the future generations’ brains, researchers said.