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Receiving nature for a reconnection with the younger ones

Aspiring to receive nature to promote reconnection with the youngest is one of the challenges of the new Global Alliance for Renaturalizing Childhood and Adolescent Health (GRSIA). The Spanish Association of Paediatrics (AEP), which leads this organization, points out that 75% of young people aged 7 to 17 have a deficit in contact with nature and 25% of children and adolescents hardly go out to play Outdoor.

The majority of young people spend more and more time in closed spaces and with a growing deficit of contact with nature (lack of relationship with animals, plants or immersion in green and blue environments).

However, more and more scientific evidence confirms the benefits of contact with nature.

Different researchers, companies, institutions, scientific societies and civil organizations, led by the Spanish Pediatric Association and his Environmental Health Committee (CSMA)have formed the Global Alliance for Renaturalizing Child and Adolescent Health (GRSIA)an initiative with the purpose of rooting the health of young people with nature and the health of the planet, especially in cities.

The goals of the alliance are reflected in the magazine Annals of Pediatrics.

Young nature
Image provided by the AEP

Lack of contact with nature

“Although needs may vary, children should spend at least an hour a day in the nearest natural green or blue environment to meet their needs and promote healthy development. However, the beneficial effects on health are already noticeable from small doses of two hours a week”, he explains doctor Juan Antonio Ortega, coordinator of the Environmental Health Committee (CSMA) of the AEP.

According to the alliance, in general, the 75% of young people aged 7 to 17 have a lack of contact with nature.

And the 25% from childhood and adolescence he barely goes outside once a month to play, only the 25% visit the urban or natural park daily.

A study carried out on 3,800 school children in the Region of Murcia in April of this year, reveals that there is a gradual and incessant disconnection as the age of the children progresses, and gender differences in the level of connection with the nature.

Girls, all ages in the study from 7 to 17, maintain better levels of connection with nature.

Nature as a medical prescription

“Doctors should prescribe more nature and ask more in consultations about these aspects, the number, type and duration of experience in nature, and encourage links with the natural environment as a way to strengthen health and counteract or reduce the effects of exposure to environmental pollutants”, says Dr. Ortega.

The initiative will promote nature prescriptions, so different health professionals will be able to formally prescribe the connection with nature so that patients can take advantage of the health benefits it provides.

A prescription will be chosen when appropriate, which will be adapted to the needs and capabilities of each patient. The recipe will be accompanied by different informative materials and a list of local activities in urban and natural green spaces.

Nature young people park
EFE/Brais Lorenzo

Benefits of nature

Experts point out the effects i benefits in health associated with contact with nature:

  • Decrease the mortality overall (3.5% for each 10% increase in green areas).
  • Increase the happiness and the feeling of welfare
  • Increase the sociabilityreduces aggressive behavior, hyperactivity and improves attention.
  • Reduce the anxietythe depressionthe Stress and markers of inflammation.
  • Improve the dream.
  • Decrease the cardiovascular risk and improve the neurodevelopment motor (coordination/balance) and cognitive.
  • Improve the school performance and the reading test.
  • It decreases the consumption of alcohol and others drugs.
  • Improve them reproductive outcomes and the weight of the newborn.
  • Decrease the overweightchildhood obesity and the risk of diabetes.
  • Improves motor, social and connectivity skills in patients with neurodevelopmental disorders (FESD, TEA…).
  • Improves health-related quality of life in the cancer survivorsas well as decreases the risk and increases the overall survival of some types of cancer.
  • Improve the immune system and improves visual acuity.
  • Increase the pulmonary function and improves asthma.
  • Increase the level of physical activity.
  • Increases levels of vitamin D.
  • Improves control of the acute and chronic pain.
  • Surgical recovery faster
  • Reduces visits to the doctor and consumption of drugs.
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