Children Who Live Near Green Spaces ‘Have Stronger Bones,’ According To New Study 

According to a new study, children who live close to green spaces, such as local parks and playgrounds, have significantly stronger bones, which could lead to lifelong health benefits.

Embed from Getty Images

Children who live close to “green spaces,” such as local parks, playgrounds, sports fields, etc., have significantly stronger bones which could lead to lifelong health benefits as their bodies grow, according to a new study

In the study, published in the journal JAMA Network Open, the scientists found that children who live in places with 20-25% more natural green areas had an increase in their bone strength that “was equivalent to half a year’s natural growth,” according to study team members Professor Tim Nawrot and Dr. Hanne Sleurs. The study is also the first of its kind, and found that having very low bone density was 65% lower in children who have accessible spaces to play and exercise. 

The researchers said that bone strength grows throughout childhood and adolescence before it evens out at around 50-years-old and then begins to decline. Increasing the size and accessibility of natural green spaces for children could then prevent things like fractures and osteoporosis when they become older individuals.

“The stronger the bone mass is during childhood, the more capacity you have for later in life.”

For growing children, physical activity is integral in general. In terms of their bone strength, it’s been shown that higher levels of physical activity help facilitate and trigger bone growth. Having access to green spaces also increases the likelihood that kids will want to get exercise. 

Children having spaces where they can consistently move their body also lowers their risk of being overweight, lowers their blood pressure, and research has shown it can lead to higher IQs and an overall better mental and emotional wellbeing. Adults also benefit greatly both mentally and physically from having access to green spaces.

This study in particular followed more than 300 children in Belgium where there were urban, suburban, and rural areas. Professor Nawrot and Dr. Sleurs explained how this information can be beneficial for communities of all kinds in the future.

Embed from Getty Images

“The real public health message from this study is that urban planners can make stronger bones of children, and that has long-lasting consequences.”

Embed from Getty Images

In the study itself, scientists used ultrasound technology to measure the bone density of children. The team of researchers focused on the four to six age groups, and the child’s weight, height, age, ethnicity, and their mother’s level of education were all taken into consideration. 

The data showed that kids with 25% more green space within 1000 meters of their home had a 66% lower risk of having low bone density or weaker bones. Bone growth is extremely important for children. Kids with low bone growth have a higher chance of developing ailments like osteoporosis as they get older. 

It’s important for kids in general to be getting some sort of physical activity daily. It aids their growth, physical strength, and improves their mental and emotional wellbeing; the same is true for full grown adults.