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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15(6), 1072; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph15061072

Children and Nature: Linking Accessibility of Natural Environments and Children’s Health-Related Quality of Life

1
Human Environments Analysis Laboratory, Department of Geography, University of Western Ontario, London, ON N6A 3K7, Canada
2
Department of Paediatrics, University of Western Ontario, London, ON N6A 3K7, Canada
3
School of Health Studies, University of Western Ontario, London, ON N6A 3K7, Canada
4
Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, University of Western Ontario, London, ON N6A 3K7, Canada
5
Children’s Health Research Institute, London, N6C 2V5, Canada
6
Lawson Health Research Institute, London, N6C 2R5, Canada
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 28 February 2018 / Revised: 10 May 2018 / Accepted: 16 May 2018 / Published: 25 May 2018
Full-Text   |   PDF [339 KB, uploaded 25 May 2018]

Abstract

A growing body of research suggests that increasing children’s nature interactions can have positive benefits for their health-related quality of life (HRQOL); however, researchers have yet to examine how geographical context influences this relationship. The purpose of this study was to examine individual-level and environmental factors that are associated with HRQOL of children from different geographical contexts. Data were collected for 851 children from 34 elementary schools in Ontario, Canada. The natural environments around each child’s home were computed using geospatial analyses in a geographic information system. Natural environment measures were combined with HRQOL and the demographics from child surveys to be used in a series of step-wise linear regression models. These models explored the relationship between children’s HRQOL and the natural environment in urban/suburban and rural populations. In addition to important individual-level determinants, the findings revealed that characteristics of the natural environment, including the amount of greenness, park, and water, show significant relationships in the urban/suburban population. Interpersonal variables were the key predictors of HRQOL in the rural population. Where children live influences relationships between nature and HRQOL. These findings have implications for policymakers, health practitioners, educators, and parents in the design and the promotion of nature for children’s HRQOL. View Full-Text
Keywords: children; mental health; health-related quality of life; nature children; mental health; health-related quality of life; nature
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Tillmann, S.; Clark, A.F.; Gilliland, J.A. Children and Nature: Linking Accessibility of Natural Environments and Children’s Health-Related Quality of Life. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15, 1072.

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