Lege Artis Medicinae

[“WHAT DO YOU THINK HAPPENS TO THOSE WHO RARELY GO OUTDOORS?”]

PLUHÁR F. Zsuzsanna, KOVÁCS Szilvia, PIKÓ Bettina, UZZOLI Annamária

JANUARY 22, 2008

Lege Artis Medicinae - 2008;18(01)

[INTRODUCTION - The surrounding environment plays an important role in the development of psychosomatic symptoms. This study examines what children think of the consequences of not going outdoors for long periods. METHODS - Data were collected using the “draw-and-write” technique that besides the written answers allows children to express their thoughts in drawings. The questionnaire contained open-ended questions both on sociodemographic data and on the children’s notion of the relationship between environment and health or illness. Questionnaire submission was voluntary and anonymous. The study subjects were 9 to 11-year-old pupils (n=448, 44.6% boys, 55.4% girls) from six primary schools, two in Budapest, and one each in Pest, Jász-Nagykun-Szolnok, Csongrád and Békés counties. The primary schools were selected so as to represent various environmental locations, such as urban, town, suburban residential, area of blocks of flats. RESULTS - We found that all children agreed in that those who don't go outdoors for a long time will, in one way or another, get sick. Illnesses mentioned in the answers were classified in two categories, physical and mental. Physical health problems were further divided into four subcategories: symptoms (e.g., anaemia, pallor, fever, weak joints or bones); diseases; obesity; death. Mental health problems were divided into two subcategories: actual psychiatric diseases (e.g., depression) and symptoms, such as unhappiness, sadness, anger. CONCLUSIONS - We conclude that children in this study sample reckon the close connection between staying indoors for prolonged periods and the development of symptoms and disease.]

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