The association between green space and oxidative stress was not found to be related to the frequency of children’s physical activity.
A study led by the Barcelona Institute for Global Health (ISGlobal), a centre supported by the ”la Caixa” Foundation, has analysed, for the first time, the relationship between exposure to different green spaces and oxidative stress in children. The study concluded that greater exposure to vegetation is associated with lower levels of oxidative stress and that this association is observed regardless of the children’s physical activity.
Oxygen is essential for numerous biochemical reactions that keep us alive, but its oxidation process generates harmful reactive substances that the body cannot always neutralise quickly or which cause damage that the body is unable to repair. This results in what is known as oxidative stress, which causes ageing or even illness.
To date, various studies have shown that having green spaces in the vicinity of one’s home has a positive effect on health, especially because greenness improves mental health and encourages physical exercise, thereby reducing the risk of overweight or obesity. But less attention has been paid to the direct effects of vegetation on biological processes, such as inflammation and oxidative stress. This is particularly important for understanding the role that green spaces can play in respiratory and allergic diseases.
Study Analysed Over 300 Italian Children
In order to determine whether green spaces might be associated with lower levels of oxidative stress in children, and also whether physical activity plays a role in this possible association, the researchers analysed 323 healthy children aged 8-11 years from five primary schools in Asti, a small city in north-western Italy.
Parents completed a questionnaire on how often their children engaged in physical activity. Oxidative stress was quantified in urine by measuring the concentration of the compound isoprostane. Residential and school greenness were defined according to the Normalised Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) and vegetated portion was also estimated. Multisite exposures were obtained accounting for NDVI around the children’s homes and schools, weighted for the time spent in each location.
Giulia Squillacioti, Anne-Elie Carsin, Valeria Bellisario, Roberto Bono, Judith Garcia-Aymerich. Multisite greenness exposure and oxidative stress in children. The potential mediating role of physical activity. Environmental Research, Volume 209, 2022, 112857, ISSN 0013-9351.
Release date: 01 March 2022
Source: Barcelona Institute for Global Health (ISGlobal)