Kids with attention deficit hyperactive disorder (ADHD) should spend some quality after-school hours and weekend time outdoors enjoying nature, say researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
The payoff for this "treatment" of children, 5 to 18 years old, who participated in a nationwide study, was a significant reduction of symptoms. The study appears in the September issue of the American Journal of Public Health. "The advantage for green outdoor activities was observed among children living in different regions of the United States and among children living in a range of settings, from rural to large city environments," wrote co-authors Frances E. Kuo and Andrea Faber Taylor. "Overall, our findings indicate that exposure to ordinary natural settings in the course of common after-school and weekend activities may be widely effective in reducing attention deficit symptoms in children."
ADHD is a neurological disorder that affects some 2 million school-aged children, as well as up to 2 to 4 percent of adults, in the United States. Those with ADHD often face serious consequences, such as problems in school and relationships, depression, substance abuse and on-the-job difficulties. "These findings are exciting," said Kuo, a professor in the departments of natural resources and environmental sciences and of psychology at Illinois. "I think were on the track of something really important, something that could affect a lot of lives in a substantial way," she said. "Were on the trail of a potential treatment for a disorder that afflicts one of every 14 children -- thats one or two kids in every classroom."
Jim Barlow | EurekAlert!
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