Research: Children living closer to greenspace have stronger bones


One of the researchers involved in a new study showing a link between access to greenspace and bone strength in children has said it shows that urban planners can make children’s bones stronger, with long-lasting consequences.

Children with more green space near their homes have significantly stronger bones, a study has found, potentially leading to lifelong health benefits.

Scientists found that the children living in places with 20-25% more natural areas had increased bone strength that was equivalent to half a year’s natural growth.

The study, the first of its kind, also found that the risk of having very low bone density was about 65% lower for these children.

Bone strength grows in childhood and adolescence, before plateauing until about the age of 50 and then declining. Increasing the size and accessibility of green spaces for children could therefore prevent fractures and osteoporosis in older people, the researchers said.

The stronger the bone mass is during childhood, the more capacity you have for later in life,” said Prof Tim Nawrot, at Hasselt University in Belgium, who was part of the study team with Dr Hanne Sleurs and others.

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

More on this story in The Guardian.

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