ADHD risks lower for children in ‘green’ environments, Denmark researchers say
The amount of ‘green space’ around children’s homes has an influence on the risks of them developing attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), Danish researchers have found in the largest study of its kind.
A team of researchers from Aarhus University has studied how green space around the residence affects the risk of children and adolescents being diagnosed with ADHD, finding that children who have been exposed to less green surroundings in their residential area in early childhood have an increased risk of receiving an ADHD diagnosis when compared to children who have been surrounded by the highest level of green space.
While the results from the research conducted by Malene Thygesen and others in the research team is the same as those of previous similar research projects, the study’s research methods have taken into account many of the other factors which can also come into play in the development of ADHD.
“In the study we adjusted for gender, age, the child’s year of birth, and the parents’ psychiatric diagnosis and socio-economic status, and neighbourhood level socio-economic status. Our study is strong because it includes many individuals and because the information is very detailed. For example, we use data based on clinical diagnoses of ADHD made by specialists,” says Ms Thygesen said.
ADHD is one of the most common psychiatric diagnoses among children and it affects those with the disorder in different ways. The causes of ADHD are still not fully known, with researchers believing there may be an hereditary component, but other factors may also play a role.
The unknowns are a powerful argument for researchers who are wanting to look more deeply into the causes of children developing the diagnosis. One condition which has been of interest for research is children’s access to green space, as previous studies have found an association with children’s mental well-being and cognitive development.