The ‘tough love’ of palm trees is ‘all about education’
A new palm-tree study shows palm trees are the most important factor in keeping kids off drugs and improving their health.
Key points:The study by the Queensland Department of Education and Training looked at more than 200,000 students from age 10 to 19 from nine states and territories across the country.
It found that the trees were also a “huge part” of their mental health, emotional wellbeing and physical wellbeing.
The research was funded by the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC).
Dr Tim Kelly from the Queensland Health Sciences Centre (QHCSC) and his colleagues analysed data from more than 20,000 children and found that they were more likely to be drug-free when compared to other students.
The children who had seen a tree at school were more than twice as likely to have successfully completed their drug treatment programme compared to students who had not seen one.
“The findings highlight that the key to a healthy child is a healthy tree,” Dr Kelly said.
“It’s not just a question of whether you’ve got a tree on your doorstep.
It’s the tree’s role in maintaining the child’s physical health and mental health.”
Palm trees also play a huge role in the mental wellbeing of our kids.
“Dr Kelly said a key focus for the research was the “tough and personal” nature of the process of getting to know a tree and getting to understand what is important to it.”
We’re really interested in what’s in the tree and what the tree does,” he said.
He said while the study didn’t show the full picture, it provided a snapshot of what was important.”
What we found is that kids who see a tree are much more likely than kids who don’t to have an underlying health problem, which is important in terms of the development of the child,” he explained.
Dr Kelly noted that the data from the study was very consistent with previous studies that had shown that trees can help reduce drug use.”
If you look at research in Australia, we know that there is a big difference in outcomes from the trees,” he noted.”
And when we looked at our results, there were two main factors in terms in the trees’ efficacy.
“One was that kids had an emotional connection to the tree which is really important.”
The second factor, Dr Kelly explained, was the fact that the children in the study were also experiencing drug treatment, something that is often difficult to achieve for some students.
“That means that they’re getting more help from the tree,” he added.
“This is really interesting, that you can see a really big difference there.”
Dr Kellys findings are likely to cause some controversy.
While he was keen to stress that the study showed “huge benefits” for the children of students who saw a tree, he did not think the findings should be viewed as a panacea.
“I don’t think that it’s necessarily the only way to get the best out of a tree,” Professor Kelly said, “but I do think it’s something that could be a good start to the discussion of what’s best for a tree.”
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