Environment Shapes Health, Including Children's Mental Health

The authors of this article discuss the relationship between the built environment and the physical and mental health of youth. The notion of the built environment refers to settings such as schools, houses and vehicles used for transportation that are distinct from the natural environment.

The authors review topics as they pertain to the built environment and the potential impact aspects the built environment exert on children's physical and mental well-being.

Key Findings:

  • Youths lack of access to safe public spaces that promote independence is a factor in their physical and mental health.
  • Ways to promote children's health given the constraints of built environments include enhancing the design of urban areas so that public transportation use increases and creating schools that children can get to by riding a bike or by walking.

The potential exists for child and adolescent psychiatrists, along with other physicians, to address the physical and mental health of youth as it is impacted by environmental factors.