School gardens improve health and academic performance, reduce discipline problems: Studies show that green spaces provide academic and health benefits for students and reduce behavioural problems. (by Jennifer Copley; World.edu)EXCERPT: The National Environmental Education Foundation (2010) summarizes a number of research studies on the health benefits of time spent in green spaces:
- Children’s stress levels are lower when they spend time in natural environments (Wells & Evans, 2003).
- Exposure to natural environments can reduce the symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (Taylor, Kuo, & Sullivan, 2001; Kuo & Taylor, 2004).
- Access to natural environments is associated with reduced risk of suffering from depression, anxiety disorders, and other mental health issues, as well as various diseases and digestive problems (Maas et al., 2009).
- Those who live in the greenest environments are less likely to die from all causes, and green spaces may reduce socioeconomic inequities in overall health (Mitchell & Popham, 2008).
- Children living in greener areas are less likely to become obese (Bell, Wilson, & Liu, 2008).
- Green school grounds promote increased and more vigorous physical activity (Council on Sports Medicine and Fitness & Council on School Health, 2006).