Greenery improves health7th November 2008
Scottish researchers have said that green spaces near to houses can reduce the "health gap" which exists between richer and poorer people.
The research was published in The Lancet. It investigated links between death rates and the prevalence of parks in localities.
The "health inequalities" which are associated with living in a "poorer area" mean that inhabitants have more chance of bad health and dying earlier.
The research discovered that if houses were located near a park or green space than the inequalities were reduced.
The team looked at records of 366,000 people whose deaths were recorded between 2001 and 2005. It showed that even very small green areas had a measurable effect on a person's danger of "fatal diseases".
The largest difference was shown for those who lived with the most green space around them. Their "health gap" was reduced by around 50% in comparison to those people who had the least amount of green space near where they lived.
The incidence of diseases such as heart disease and stroke were particularly affected by having green space nearby.
The team leaders Dr Richard Mitchell from Glasgow University, and Dr Frank Popham, from the University of St Andrews, said: "The implications of this study are clear - environments that promote good health might be crucial in the fight to reduce health inequalities."
They said councils should think about ways to make green space available to people as a way of improving residents' health.
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Title: Greenery improves health
Author: Jess Laurence
Article Id: 9114
Date Added: 7th Nov 2008