Being close to nature may help boost kids' lung health
Exposure to nature — city greenspaces, suburban prairies or even natural forests — may help kids breathe better. Get the details in this episode of NewsMD's "Health Fusion with Viv Williams."
ROCHESTER, Minn. — As kids grow, getting them closer to nature may help improve their lung health. A new study shows that children tend to have better lung function if exposure to vegetation increases in the first 10 years of life.
Researchers from Portugal mapped out how much vegetation existed around the homes of more than 3,000 kids. And they measured the distance between the kids' homes and the nearest park or other greenspace. The process was repeated four times — at birth and ages 4, 7 and 10. They also tested lung function at those intervals.
Results showed that kids whose world's became greener between birth and age 10 had better lung function.
“Our research suggests the greener, the better," says Diogo Queiroz Almeida from the University of Porto. "These improvements are modest at around 2%. However, if we look at the whole population, making our neighborhoods greener could have a considerable impact."
The researchers say moving kids closer to nature and creating more urban greenspace may be two ways of boosting lung health.
The study is published in the European Respiratory Journal.
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