Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Landscape and Health

Seems that the occurrence of Attention Deficits continues to grow. According to this article in Ladies Home Journal, four million kids are currently diagnosed.

Studies show that there are biological reasons behind these conditions, but environmental factors can have an impact.
But even if the data strongly suggest a biological origin to ADHD, says William E. Pelham Jr., PhD, director of the Center for Children and Families at the State University of New York at Buffalo, there is little doubt that environmental factors can nudge a latent, largely benign tendency into a full-blown disorder requiring medication. Several trends in American life have converged to whip up this perfect storm.

Francis Kuo, and Andrea Faber-Taylor, researchers at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, have completed a study in 1994 that determined getting kids outdoors can reduce the symptoms and help kids cope with ADHD. Kuo is a leading researcher today in this field. She says getting kids outside does not mean you have to go to the wilderness. Urban parks and natural spaces can be just as effective.
It didn't take a pristine landscape to prompt the improvement. No need to head for a remote rainforest; just get outside and around greenery after school and on weekends, wherever you are, say the researchers.

Kuo is the Director of the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign's
Landscape and Human Health Laboratory where her current research looks at the capacity to learn in green spaces.