News Center Items by Richard Louv

Studies Link Air Pollution to Mental Health Issues in Children

A new study has found that short-term exposure to outside air pollution is associated with increased symptoms of psychiatric disorders, as marked by increased ER visits to the Cincinnati Children’s emergency department for psychiatric issues. The study, the first to show an association between daily outdoor air pollution levels and increased symptoms of psychiatric disorders, also found that children living in disadvantaged neighborhoods may be more susceptible to the effects of air pollution compared to other children, especially for disorders related to anxiety and suicidality.

Almost Half of Girls Don’t Have Access to a Playground

Girlguiding’s Girls’ Attitude Survey found that almost half (47%) of seven to 10-year-old girls do not have access to a playground with swings and a slide, and almost one in three can’t get to a park easily. One in six of the girls surveyed said they would like to play outside more if there was a safer way to cross the road. The
Girlguiding’s Girls’ Attitude Survey spoke to 2,118 girls and young women aged between seven and 21 across the UK

PlayCore Launches First Plant Database to Promote the Design of Landscapes with Play Value

A partnership between the Children & Nature Network, the Natural Learning Initiative, College of Design, North Carolina State University and PlayCore has resulted in a Play Value Plant Database. The Database is intended to be a tool used by landscape architects, park administrators, nature-focused organizations, schools, and anyone who wants to promote rich and diverse play and recreation experiences for children and families.

Grand Rapids Students Get Out of the Classroom and Into Nature

City officials and school leaders from the city of Grand Rapids, Michigan held a sneak preview and project update of a green schoolyard project and nature play area at Plaster Creek Family Park. The project is part of the Cities Connecting Children to Nature initiative aimed at engaging children in outdoor learning spaces and new nature experiences instead of the traditional steel playground structures.

How a Child’s Environment Can Affect Their Personality

Researchers from Yale University found that a child’s environment can affect such personality traits as patience and being risk-averse. The study, which involved children from four countries, showed that being brought up in an urban setting could dramatically shape the behavior and actions of children.

Children Who Have Afternoon Breaks Are Fitter but Need a Supportive Environment

A Swansea University study looked at the connection between afternoon breaks during the school day and impacts on children’s health. Over 5000 students from 56 primary schools in Wales were involved in the study. Researchers found that children who had afternoon play were significantly fitter, which suggests that removing afternoon play for children may be detrimental to their physical health.

Pop-up Parks Provide More Than a Patch of Grass

With pop-up and temporary green spaces becoming increasingly popular in cities, researchers are exploring the social and ecological impacts of the installations. According to researchers from RMIT’s Centre for Urban Research (CUR), temporary pop-up parks and green spaces in urban areas offer great benefits for the environment as well as the physical and mental wellbeing of people.

Michigan Joins National Effort to Promote Outdoor Recreation Industry

The state of Michigan has partnered with a consortium of states dedicated to promoting the outdoor recreation industry. The partnership is part of a growing national effort to build public awareness about the economic, social and public health benefits of outdoor play and provide a unified voice for the diverse businesses and organizations that make up the industry. Michigan offers more than 8 million acres of publicly accessible lands, 12,000 miles of state-designated trails, Great Lakes, rivers and streams.

Nearly Two Thirds of British Parents Think School Children’s Mental Health Is at Risk

A new survey has found that more than half of parents in Britain believe there has been increase in mental health and wellbeing issues in children compared to when they were younger. The parents cited mandatory homework their children must do as a key contributing factor. Almost 50 per cent of the parents surveyed think their children’s time would be better spent playing outside, learning from friends, on field trips and through play rather than doing homework. 


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