Greener living space linked to lower death rates - new study

A new nationwide US study led by researchers at Harvard used satellite imagery to assess the amount of plant cover ("greenness") around women's homes.   The study looked at over 100,000 women and analysed information on 8604 deaths during 2000 and 2008.  It found women living in the greenest locations (top 20%) had a 12% lower rate of mortality (excluding accidental deaths) than those in the least green locations (bottom 20%).  The strongest link was for deaths from respiratory disease and cancers.  The authors suggest that increased greenspace could improve health through providing opportunities for physical activity and social engagement, improving mental health and reducing air pollution.

Read the full study here.

“Exposure to Greenness and Mortality in a Nationwide Prospective Cohort Study of Women,” Peter James, Jaime E. Hart, Rachel F. Banay, Francine Laden, Environmental Health Perspectives, online April 14, 2016, doi: 10.1289/ehp.1510363