Nature Outings Reduce ADHD Symptoms
Fri Aug 27, 2004

FRIDAY, Aug. 27 (HealthDayNews) -- The great outdoors provides great benefits to children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

So says a University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign study in the September issue of the American Journal of Public Health.

The nationwide study of more than 400 5- to 18-year-old children with ADHD found that spending time outdoors enjoying nature on weekends and after school led to a significant reduction of ADHD symptoms.

"The advantage for green outdoor activities was observed among children living in different regions of the United States and among children living in a range of settings, from rural to large city environments," wrote study authors Frances E. Kuo and Andrea Faber Taylor.

"Overall, our findings indicate that exposure to ordinary natural settings in the course of common after-school and weekend activities may be widely effective in reducing attention deficit symptoms in children," the authors wrote.

These are exciting findings, said Kuo, professor in the departments of natural resources and environmental sciences and of psychology.

"I think we're on the track of something really important, something that could affect a lot of lives in a substantial way," she said in a prepared statement. "We're on the trail of a potential treatment for a disorder that afflicts one of every 14 children -- that's one or two kids in every classroom."

Kuo said "nature treatments" for ADHD symptoms could be as simple as designing a greener route to school each day for kids, building in outdoor playtime, or making sure kids do their homework with a view that looks out onto the natural world.