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Public Radio's Environmental News Magazine (follow us on Google News)

Emerging Science Note/Nature’s Way

Air Date: Week of

Living on Earth’s Jennifer Chu reports on how playing outdoors may alleviate symptoms of attention deficit disorder.


CURWOOD: Just ahead: concerns about the environment in Florida may cost President Bush some votes in this crucial swing state. First, this Note on Emerging Science from Jennifer Chu.


CHU: A new study suggests that a simple walk in the park may be a useful treatment for attention deficit and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

Researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign tracked a large pool of children with ADHD to see what influence exposure to nature might have on their behavior. The researchers asked parents to report how their children performed after doing a range of activities – from watching television to reading books to playing group sports. Some activities were held indoors, some at outdoor spots without much greenery, like parking lots, and others at natural outside settings, like backyards and tree-lined streets.

The nationwide study included more than 450 five to 18 year-olds. It found that spending time outdoors significantly reduced ADHD symptoms such as inattention and impulsiveness. Scientists are now launching clinical trials to confirm the initial results and recommend treatments. A co-author of the study suggests that ADHD has been on the rise because modern life simply places too many demands on our attention. She adds that a quiet place outdoors can help reduce some of that stress.

That’s this week’s Note on Emerging Science. I’m Jennifer Chu.

CURWOOD: And you’re listening to NPR’s Living on Earth.

ANNOUNCER: Support for NPR comes from NPR stations, and: The Noyce Foundation, dedicated to improving math and science instruction from kindergarten through grade 12; Ford, presenting the Escape Hybrid, whose full hybrid technology allows it to run on gas or electric power. Full hybrid technology details at fordvehicles.com; The Annenberg Fund for excellence in communications and education; and, The Kellogg Foundation, helping people help themselves by investing in individuals, their families, and their communities. On the web at w-k-k-f dot org. This is NPR -- National Public Radio.

[MUSIC: Fontanelle “The Telephone Fade” FONTANELLE (Kranky – 2000)]



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