Another reason it's called 'The Great Outdoors'
Parents of children with ADHD (attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder) may want to step outside.
The American Journal of Public Health recently published the work of two researchers from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign who found that spending time in a natural environment may ease the symptoms of ADHD in children. In a national study of 452 parents, Drs. Frances E. Kuo and Andrea Farber Taylor found evidence that an hour of activity in green spaces, such as farms, parks, and backyards, temporarily quelled the symptoms of children with ADHD.
Study participants were asked to rate how various afterschool and weekend activities affected their children's ability to focus, listen, and follow instructions. Results indicated that those children who participated in activities in a natural setting experienced a calming of ADHD symptoms. Activities in 'built' environments, such as cities and concrete playgrounds, or indoors also seemed to ease symptoms, but only when the child was alone or with one friend, while 'green time' seemed to be effective even if the child was part of a large group.
While the authors agree that more research is necessary, their research suggests green time could be a natural, low-cost therapy for children with ADHD and could help reduce the need for medication. For more details, see the September 2004 issue of the American Journal of Public Health.