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News Center Items by Jennifer Bristol

Health Unit Says Kids Need To Go Outside

The most comprehensive assessment of child and youth physical activity in Canada indicates that physical activity can improve kids’ brain health by boosting both cognitive ability and mental wellness. The research suggests that an active lifestyle can help release a child’s potential in several ways including performance in the classroom, problem solving skills and overall focus.

France Bans Smartphones from the Classroom

A new French law will ban students from using smartphones on school grounds — in an effort to combat cell phone addiction and encourage children to read and play outside. Beginning in September, the law will prohibit students — aged 3 to 15 — from using smartphones on school grounds.

Chicago’s Lincoln Park Zoo Takes Urban Wildlife Program Global

Chicago’s Lincoln Park Zoo is leading a first-of-its-kind effort to study urban wildlife. The zoo announced last week a partnership between the zoo’s Urban Wildlife Institute, the city of Edmonton and University of Alberta.Through the program, scientists gather and analyze data in hopes of helping animals thrive by mitigating existing or potential conflicts between humans and wildlife.

New Study Suggest the UK Has Become an Indoor Nation

A nationwide report in the United Kingdom has found that the average British citizen will spend 53 years of their adult life inside and just ten years outside. Nearly half of Brits polled said they never have the time or opportunity to venture outside and 15 percent complained they don’t have anywhere picturesque nearby that they can visit.

China’s Forest City Will Help Reduce Pollution

With the second-highest number of annual pollution-related fatalities in the world, China is looking to forest cities to reduce pollution and CO2 in its largest cities. The Liuzhou Forest City will have a large collection of vertical forest buildings that should absorb 10,000 tons of CO2 and 57 tons of other pollutants while creating 900 tons of oxygen annually. Residents and businesses will be moving into the development’s 70 foliage-covered buildings in about two years.

AHA: Screen Time Confers Sedentary Behavior in Children, Teens

Elevated screen time is associated with sedentary behavior leading to overweight and obesity in children and adolescents, according to a scientific statement from the American Heart Association or AHA. The AHA experts found that overall screen time seems to be increasing as portable devices are allowing for more access.

Urban Congress Sees Designers Put Children’s Needs First

Considering the child’s perspectives when planning urban areas was the focus of the recent Cities on the Rise event held in the Irish city of Cork. The event, hosted by the nonprofit Academy of Urbanism, highlighted how Cork and other similar mid-level non-capital cities across Europe are being transformed by planning around the needs of children in cities. Event organizers emphasized that the amount of time children spend playing outdoors, their ability to get around independently, and their level of contact with nature are strong indicators of how a city is performing.

The Impact of Green Spaces on Cardiovascular Health

Researchers at the University of Louisville in Kentucky will study how air pollution affects cardiovascular health. The study will look at heart-health among residents in neighborhoods with varying access to green space. Study researchers have received multimillion-dollar grants from The Nature Conservancy and the National Institutes of Health to explore this health topic.

Even the Smallest Urban Green Spaces Can Have a Big Impact on Mental Health

A new study conducted in Philadelphia looked at the effects of cleaning and converting vacant urban lots into green spaces. The researchers randomly selected 541 overgrown vacant lots spread across the city, dividing those lots into groups, with one group receiving a complete “greening intervention.” Among the results, feelings of depression decreased by nearly 42 percent amongst those residents living near the fully greened vacant lots compared to the other groups. The shifts toward improved mental health and wellbeing were most marked in the poorest neighborhoods randomly selected for the study.

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