Living near a park can improve the mental and physical health of Americans, especially young people and teenagers, a new report urges.
Researchers from the University of California, Los Angeles, discovered that children in the state who grew up within a third mile of a park were at a lower risk of becoming obese at the age of 18 and later at a lower risk of chronic health problems in life.
In addition, the report's authors claim, the proximity of a park is linked to lower stress levels, even for people whose financial insecurity places them in a greater degree of need.
They note that parks can provide a free, untapped resource for millions of Californians and Americans in general.
People who live within walking distance of parks are at a lower risk of heart disease and obesity – and teenagers are 30% more likely to get five hours of physical activity a week, a new report from the University of California, Los Angeles, reveals (photo: a & # 39; super bloom & # 39; in California)
Across the 50 states, there are approximately 84 million acres of national parks, plus many more urban parks, in the US.
They are not only for preserving or improving the landscapes, but also for our health.
Although people travel from far and wide to see national parks such as Yosemite or Yellowstone, green spaces are demonstrably more essential to human health in cities.
City parks act as oases of trees and contribute clean oxygen to the environments around them, which in turn helps to improve air quality for us and to reduce the risk of asthma, heart disease and more.
They also offer free spaces for people to practice.
And these benefits for our physiology are also good for our mental health and stress levels.
In their review of studies on parks in California and human health, UCLA researchers saw these benefits arise for millions of children and adults.
One of these studies questioned 80,000 Californian households about their mental health, stress and financial conditions.
They discovered that no matter how poor or rich those families were, those who lived close to a park or green space were less concerned.
Once health experts are fired as a sign of lack of resilience, they now recognize stress as a significant risk factor for a variety of diseases.
We have even seen it bring about lifelong biological changes, perceptible through epigenetic changes that are even passed on to future generations.
In addition, stress can cause inflammation, which increases the risk of many diseases, including heart disease in particular.
Parents seem to agree with this, according to the new report.
One of the studies the researchers looked at showed that for every 21.5 percent more green space that parents reported in their neighborhood, they were 14 percent less likely to think that their children's health was worse than average.
The closer to the parks they lived in (shown in yellow for city parks and green for rural parks), the greater the chance that young people in California would step out and train one hour a day five hours a day
And their analysis suggests that teenagers who live near parks can take advantage of them to exercise.
Another study found that nearly 30 percent more teenagers spent an hour or more on some form of physical activity five days a week while living near parks and green spaces.
The authors of the study suspect that this also means less screen time for teenagers who live near parks, which can offer them mental health benefits.
& # 39; Our own analysis indicates that state parks in California offer a number of physical health benefits for local residents & # 39 ;, wrote the report authors.
& # 39; The prevalence of cardiovascular disease and acute asthma episodes are both significantly lower in census areas within walking distance of city parks than in census areas outside these areas. & # 39;
Easily cycling or walking to parks was linked to some benefits for both adults and teenagers, but they were much more moderate than those associated with living within walking distance of them.
& # 39; These findings confirm that state parks in California can be important places to improve the health of both young people and adults, & # 39 ;, wrote the study authors.
They even went so far as to recommend healthcare providers and doctors to use their local green spaces & # 39; park recipes & # 39; to encourage people to go hiking, running, climbing, cycling and de-stressing outdoors.
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