Greenspace and health outcomes in children and adolescents: A systematic review

Tingting Ye, Pei Yu, Bo Wen, Zhengyu Yang, Wenzhong Huang, Yuming Guo, Michael J. Abramson, Shanshan Li

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleResearchpeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


An increasing body of evidence has linked greenspace and various health outcomes in children and adolescents, but the conclusions were inconsistent. For this review, we comprehensively summarized the measurement methods of greenspace, resultant health outcomes, and potential mechanisms from epidemiological studies in children and adolescents (aged ≤19 years). We searched for studies published and indexed in MEDLINE and EMBASE (via Ovid) up to April 11, 2022. There were a total of 9,291 studies identified with 140 articles from 28 countries finally assessed and included in this systematic review. Over 70% of the studies were conducted in highly urbanised countries/regions, but very limited research has been done in low-and middle-income countries and none in Africa. Measures of greenspace varied. Various health outcomes were reported, including protective effects of greenspace exposure on aspects of obesity/overweight, myopia, lung health, circulatory health, cognitive function, and general health in children and adolescents. The associations between greenspace exposure and other health outcomes were inconsistent, especially for respiratory health studies. We pooled odds ratios (OR) using random-effects meta-analysis for health outcomes of asthma (OR = 0.94, 95%CI: 0.84 to 1.06), allergic rhinitis (OR = 0.95; 95% CI: 0.73 to 1.25), and obesity/overweight (OR = 0.91, 95%CI: 0.84 to 0.98) with per 0.1 unit increase in normalized difference in vegetation index (NDVI). These associations have important implications for the assessment and management of urban environment and health in children and adolescents.

Original languageEnglish
Article number120193
Number of pages11
JournalEnvironmental Pollution
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2022

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