Association Between Greenness Surrounding Schools and Kindergartens and Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder in Children in China

Bo Yi Yang, Xiao Wen Zeng, Iana Markevych, Michael S. Bloom, Joachim Heinrich, Luke D. Knibbs, Shyamali C. Dharmage, Shao Lin, Pasi Jalava, Yuming Guo, Bin Jalaludin, Lidia Morawska, Yang Zhou, Li Wen Hu, Hong Yao Yu, Yunjiang Yu, Guang Hui Dong

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Abstract

Importance: Few studies have investigated the association between greenness and childhood attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Objective: To evaluate the association between greenness surrounding schools or kindergartens and symptoms of ADHD in children. Design, Setting, and Participants: This population-based cross-sectional study was performed between April 2012 and January 2013 in 7 cities in northeastern China. This analysis included 59 754 children (aged 2-17 years) from 94 schools and kindergartens, who had resided in the study area for 2 years or longer. Data were analyzed from April 15, 2019, to October 10, 2019. Exposures: Greenness surrounding each child's school or kindergarten was estimated using 2 satellite image-derived vegetation indexes: the normalized difference vegetation index and the soil-adjusted vegetation index. Main Outcomes and Measures: Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (Fourth Edition) scales were used to measure ADHD symptoms (9 inattention symptoms and 9 hyperactivity-impulsivity symptoms). Parents or guardians rated the frequency of each of 18 ADHD symptoms during the preceding 6 months. Children with 6 or more symptoms of either inattention or hyperactivity-impulsivity were defined as having ADHD symptoms. Generalized linear mixed models were applied to estimate the association between greenness and ADHD symptoms. Results: The mean (SD) age of the 59 754 study participants was 10.3 (3.6) years, and 29 494 (49.4%) were girls. A total of 2566 participants (4.3%) had ADHD symptoms. Greenness levels differed substantially across schools and kindergartens. The normalized difference vegetation index within 500 m of a school or kindergarten ranged from -0.09 to 0.77. Greater greenness levels were associated with lower odds of ADHD symptoms. In covariate-adjusted models, a 0.1-unit increase in normalized difference vegetation index or soil-adjusted vegetation index within 500 m of a school or kindergarten was significantly associated with lower odds of ADHD symptoms (odds ratios, 0.87 [95% CI, 0.83-0.91] and 0.80 [95% CI, 0.74-0.86], respectively; P < .001 for both). The associations were robust in a series of sensitivity analyses. Conclusions and Relevance: These findings suggest that there may be a beneficial association between school-based greenness and ADHD symptoms in Chinese children. Future longitudinal and mechanistic studies are needed to confirm the findings of this cross-sectional analysis and further explore potential mechanisms of this association.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere1917862
Number of pages13
JournalJAMA Network Open
Volume2
Issue number12
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2 Dec 2019

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