Green spaces near home good for your health

By Laura Mize • Published: January 13th, 2010
Category: Health in a Heartbeat

“Going green” isn’t just good for the earth. It could be good for you, too.

Researchers in Holland found that people with more green space near their homes had lower rates of some common diseases than those living near smaller green spaces.

Researchers writing in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health studied medical records of more than three-hundred-thousand Dutch people, along with information about the amount of green space near their zip codes. The medical records were provided by general practice physicians.

The study showed that people with the most green space within a kilometer of their homes struggled less with certain types of diseases.

Conditions most affected by the amount of green space were anxiety disorder and depression. But the scientists also found associations with thirteen other diseases, including those involving the cardiovascular and respiratory systems.

People of low socioeconomic status and children showed the strongest relationships between disease prevalence and green space near home. These people are less able to leave home, so they could be more affected by their environments.

In heavily urban areas, green space was not associated with less disease. The authors said parks in such areas might be dangerous places people don’t often visit.

There are many reasons green space could be associated with greater health… including cleaner air, more places to exercise and greater opportunities to socialize with others.

So if you live near a park or other green spaces, get outside, take a walk and enjoy some time in nature. The exercise is good for you, and you could be working to fend off a host of common diseases.