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Study: Live Near Nature, Live Longer

Dorathy Gass

Who doesn’t love or appreciate the beauty and elegance of a nicely laid out garden or park; with breathtaking shrubs, flowers, and trees to ‘take in’ every time you leave the house or come home. Recent research reveals that living near, or in, greener areas can help increase a woman’s mortality and mental health.

The study combined teams from the Brigham and Women’s Hospital along with Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and reviewed over 108,000 females participating in the Nurse’s Health Study; a study that has spanned across the United States and investigated risks around massive female chronic illnesses from 2000-2008.

The study team analyzed the number of vegetation and plant life near the participants houses and it was revealed that women who lived in greener regions had a decreased death rate of 12 percent versus those females that happened to live in lesser greener regions. Satellite images over a span of years and seasons were used to determine vegetation levels.

CNN reported that the researchers hypothesized that if males were included in the study, the results would be quite the same.

But how can greenery affect death rates in women?

When the team looked at the results, they found that those females who had homes near greener regions had a 13 percent lower death rate when it came to cancer, 34 percent decreased death rate around respiratory illnesses, and a decreased death rate of 41 percent when it came to kidney disease. The team believes that some elements may contribute in this decrease in death rates, thanks to residing near greener pastures, including a 30 percent increase in living due to better mental health; something that was evaluated through depression levels of participants. Additionally, increased physical activity, decreased pollution levels, and an increase in social engagement opportunities might also be contributing factors, as per the study.

It’s important to note that the researchers did adjust for socioeconomic factors for individuals, like smoking for example, when it came to the connection of greener areas and longer living.

While some believe that this may be a good reason to move out of their urban areas and head to the country, the study team believes their research would be beneficial for city planners, architects, and policymakers to promote the creation of healthier and greener areas within urban regions.

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