Environmental impact on adolescent health – volunteers sought for study

The impact of environment on adolescent health is being investigated by University of Aberdeen scientists.

The relationship between the amount and quality of green space teenagers live in, their levels of physical activity and sense of well-being will be examined by experts from the institution.

16-18 years olds living in Aberdeen are being sought to take part in the Greenways study which is funded by the Scottish Government.

Megan Watson who is leading the research said:  “We believe there is a correlation between the type of environment a young person lives in, the amount of physical activity they undertake and their overall sense of mental well-being.

“We are looking for teenagers from Aberdeen city to come forward to be part of the study so we can understand how the space they live in impacts on their lives.

“Participants in the study would be required to wear two devices which allow us to measure their levels of physical activity and the type of environment they have been in, and a watch which would prompt them to answer questions about what they have done that day.

“The study lasts for a week, and during this time we will provide volunteers with a digital camera and ask them to take images of their neighbourhood of places they feel have either a positive or negative impact on their health or how they feel about themselves.”

It is hoped findings from the study will feed into public policy providing advice on interventions to increase physical activity and support the need for the development of neighbourhood spaces that promote healthy behaviours in the future.

Megan continued: “Conducting this work will allow us to understand if there is a relationship between the types of neighbourhood spaces and how much physical activity is undertaken by the young people living there.

“Our work will also look to see if the quality of the green space that young people have access to day-to-day has a bearing on their mental well-being, or, their physical activity levels

“Understanding the relationship that may exist between access to green space, its use and levels of well-being, is the first step to making a change which could positively impact on adolescent health in the future.”

Those wishing to participate in the study should email greenways@abdn.ac.uk or call 07964128855 for more information.