Natural Play Spaces Make Kids More Active and Less Depressed!

A study completed in 2014 by UBC observed children playing in their care centre play space before and after the space was upgraded with nature play elements.

Before the intervention children were seen to be displaying depressive behaviours and where dependent on teachers interaction.  The interventions were simple and included some sand, brick and bamboo.  These elements drastically improved play outcomes including increased levels of imaginative play and reduce symptoms of depression.  Children were significantly less dependent on their teachers’ interaction during play.

“Depressive symptoms like looking sad or not smiling much went down after the modifications. The videos showed kids much more engaged in play and engaged in positive ways with each other,” said co-researcher Mariana Brussoni, an associate professor in UBC’s school of population and public health and paediatrics, and a scientist at the Child & Family Research Institute at B.C. Children’s Hospital.

Image by Nature Play WA

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Influence of the day care, home and neighbourhood environment on young children's physical activity and health: protocol for the PLAYCE observational study.

9 Apr 2018

Introduction  The early years are a critical period in a child's health and development, yet most preschool children fail to meet physical activity guidelines. Outside of the home and neighbourhood, children spend a large proportion of time within early childhood education and care (ECEC…

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Neighbourhoods for Active Kids: study protocol for a cross-sectional examination of neighbourhood features and children's physical activity, active travel, independent mobility and body size

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Abstract Introduction New Zealand children's physical activity, including independent mobility and active travel, has declined markedly over recent decades. The Neighbourhoods for Active Kids (NfAK) study examines how neighbourhood built environments are associated with the independent m…

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Residential green space in childhood is associated with lower risk of psychiatric disorders from adolescence into adulthood

12 Mar 2019

Urban residence is associated with a higher risk of some psychiatric disorders, but the underlying drivers remain unknown. There is increasing evidence that the level of exposure to natural environments impacts mental health, but few large-scale epidemiological studies have assessed the general exis…

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Cognitive Restoration in Children Following Exposure to Nature: Evidence From the Attention Network Task and Mobile Eye Tracking

5 Feb 2019

Exposure to nature improves cognitive performance through a process of cognitive restoration. However, few studies have explored the effect in children, and no studies have explored how eye movements “in the wild” with mobile eye tracking technology contribute to the restoration process.…

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17 Jan 2019

Abstract Background It is commonly believed that nature has positive impacts on children’s health, including physical, mental and social dimensions. This review focuses on how accessibility to, exposure to and engagement with nature affects the mental health of children and teenagers.…

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Measuring connectedness to nature in preschool children in an urban setting and its relation to psychological functioning

17 Jan 2019

Abstract Background The urban environment has been criticized for promoting ‘nature-deficit’ and ‘child-nature disconnectedness’. Keeping in mind the importance of nature exposure and its extensive health benefits, many environmental programs around the world hope to (r…

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Study: Limiting Children's Screen Time Improves Their Memory, Attention and Language Skills

1 Oct 2018

Summary Background Childhood and adolescence are crucial periods for brain development, and the behaviours during a typical 24 h period contribute to cognitive performance. The Canadian 24-Hour Movement Guidelines for Children and Youth recommend at least 60 min physical activity per day, 2 h…

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Too much screen time may double cancer, mortality risk of already unhealthy people

29 May 2018

Associations of discretionary screen time with mortality, cardiovascular disease and cancer are attenuated by strength, fitness and physical activity: findings from the UK Biobank study Background Discretionary screen time (time spent viewing a television or computer screen during leisure time…

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Ultra-clean homes could trigger childhood leukaemia - a causal mechanism for childhood acute lymphoblastic leukaemia

23 May 2018

In this Review, I present evidence supporting a multifactorial causation of childhood acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL), a major subtype of paediatric cancer. ALL evolves in two discrete steps. First, in utero initiation by fusion gene formation or hyperdiploidy generates a covert, pre-leukaemic c…

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Physical Activity and Incident Depression: A Meta-Analysis of Prospective Cohort Studies

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Objective: The authors examined the prospective relationship between physical activity and incident depression and explored potential moderators. Method: Prospective cohort studies evaluating incident depression were searched from database inception through Oct. 18, 2017, on PubMed, PsycINF…

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