Children today are more likely to report symptoms of attention disorders and depression, and more likely to be medicated for those problems than at any time in human history, according author Richard Louv.
Mental health issues, childhood obesity and even online bullying appear to be exacerbated by a lack of access to nature, outdoor play and urban greenspace, said Louv, who will be a keynote speaker at the Children and Nature Network International Conference in Vancouver from April 18-21.
Thirty years ago, there was no more than a handful of studies on the restorative effects of natural environments on children.
Today, there are more than 500 and their conclusions are spectacularly well-aligned, said Louv, author of Last Child in the Woods and Vitamin N: The Essential Guide to a Nature-Rich Life.
It might be over-extrapolating the research to draw a causal link between nature deprivation and the deteriorating mental and physical health of our children, but the research consistently shows restorative effects when children have improved access to nature, he said.
In short, nature matters.