Trees clean the air and the mind.
Children who grow up around trees and other greenery are more mentally resilient later in life, according to new research from Aarhus University in Denmark.
“With our dataset, we show that the risk of developing a mental disorder decreases incrementally the longer you have been surrounded by green space from birth and up to the age of 10,” said Kristine Engemann, a postdoctoral researcher at the university’s Department of Bioscience and the National Centre for Register-based Research, in a press release. “Green space throughout childhood is therefore extremely important.”
Engemann and her colleagues found that Children who grow up without green surroundings face a 55 percent greater chance of developing depression and other mental disorders later in life.
The researchers used satellite date from 1985 to 2013, mapping green space around the homes of one million Danes and cross referencing that data with 16 mental disorders discovered in the same geographic locations.
“Our data is unique,” said Engemann. “We have had the opportunity to use a massive amount of data from Danish registers of, among other things, residential location and disease diagnoses and compare it with satellite images revealing the extent of green space surrounding each individual when growing up.”
The research has important implications for the future, she added, noting that more people are living in cramped cities that lack greenery. At the same time, mental disorders have been rising.