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How nature can improve your family’s mental health

Published on August 12, 2019

Ravenna Park in Northeast Seattle.
Ravenna Park in Northeast Seattle. Image Credit: Seattle Daily Photo 2010. CC ASA 3.0 Unported

People who study health outcomes – and any parent with common sense – have long known that having access to a green space is important for health.

From decreased asthma and obesity to increased immunities and quality sleep, exposure to the outdoors is good for everyone.

But a large, growing body of evidence, captured in a new meta-study, reveals that experiences in nature have especially big benefits for mental health.

And yet, as Gregory Bratman, assistant professor of Environmental and Forest Sciences at the University of Washington, and his colleagues found in their recent analysis, the average person’s access to nature and green spaces has sharply declined over generations, as mental health demands have mounted.

One study estimates that 75 percent of nature interactions were experienced by only half of the population.

It’s worth noting the researchers found a strong correlation between mental health and socioeconomic status, but also the link between poorer areas and a lack of nature and that this model could be best applied to closing those green gaps first.

“Some areas in some cities are nature-deprived,” says Bratman. “Eventually, our conceptual framework could be developed and potentially used to help address health disparities in underserved communities.”


Continue reading at Your Tango.

Originally written by Lauren Vinopal for Your Tango.
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