Baby with Leaf

Children’s Health Month

October is Children’s Health Month! How does the environment affect your child’s health and wellbeing?

Outside: Studies show that spending time in green, natural environments can have positive impacts on children’s mental and physical health.

  • Researchers from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign found that a 20-minute nature walk helped boost concentration levels in children who had been diagnosed with ADHD.
  • A study of 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders in New York suggested that having nature in close proximity reduces the impacts of stressful life events such as bullying or family relocation.
  • Australian 10-12-year-old children who spent more time outdoors were 27-41% less likely to be overweight than their peers who spent less time outdoors.

Inside: The “environment” isn’t left behind when you move indoors. The built environment, where Americans spend up to 90% of their time, such as at home, work, school, or daycare, can also have a significant impact on a child’s health.

  • About one out of every 10 school-aged children in the United States have asthma, and every year, more than 10.5 million missed school days are attributed to this disease. Indoor air quality can be compromised with environmental asthma triggers such as mold, second hand smoke, or pet dander. Learn more from EPA about how to manage indoor asthma triggers.
  • With their smaller bodies and unique physiologies, children are often more likely to be at risk from environmental hazards than adults. Learn to spot situations that may pose a risk to your child, such as exposure to pesticides, radon, and lead, with this guide from EPA on children’s environmental hazards.

Want to learn more about the health benefits of nature? Take a look at NEEF’s Children & Nature Infographic, and then check out Get into Nature for Better Health, a resource on free apps to help get you and your family out to the park.