A new study has called for the addition of more parks and green spaces in cities to ensure that children's lung health is not compromised.

Researchers examined more than 3,000 city-dwelling children and found that those who moved closer to green spaces were more likely to have better lung function than those who lived further away.

The academics behind the study said their findings support the idea of families moving to greener areas but also highlight the need to create more green spaces in cities and towns.

Some 3,278 children living in the Portuguese city of Porto took part in the study.

Researchers examined the nearest green spaces to children when they were born and again when they were aged four, seven and 10.

Wandsworth Times: Cities like London are often known for their poor air quality levels (PA)Cities like London are often known for their poor air quality levels (PA)

The study, published in the European Respiratory Journal, found children whose home surroundings became “greener” between birth and their 10th birthday, either due to house moves or due to environmental changes, had better lung function.

Lead author Dr Diogo Queiroz Almeida, from the University of Porto, said: “Our research suggests the greener, the better.

“We looked at factors like physical activity and air pollution, but the link between lung function and moving closer to green space remained, even after we took these into account.

“It could also be that getting closer to nature reduces stress, which can improve physical health, or it might have a positive effect on children’s microbiome – the community of different bacteria that live in our bodies.

“We found that living in greener neighbourhoods as children grow up is more important for their breathing than living in a green area when they were born. This may be because babies spend much less time outdoors than children.”