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Neighborhood Greenness and Better Health

Updated: Aug 28, 2020

Christina Schlachter

Boulder, Colorado

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On the eve of Earth Day, even if you usually don’t worry about conservation or the environment, consider this: green space and tree coverage have a positive association with health.  Green spaces and trees provide mental health benefits, as the natural environment has a distinctive capability to restore mental well-being.  Simply being by nature can reduce blood-pressure and calm your mind.  As the world faces a pandemic, if your city allows it, go outside and look at the nature around you.  Proximity to green space has been associated with lower rates of anxiety disorders and depression clusters in neighborhoods.  If lower anxiety levels are not enough, maternal health and infant birth weight have been researched in a number of urban areas, with each study  concluding that the closer a mother lives in proximity to trees and tree coverage, the rate of undersized newborns decreases.  Proximity to parks and recreation is associated with increased physical activity in children. Children who live in neighborhoods with more greenness were less likely to have higher body mass index (BMI) scores than children living in less green neighborhoods and kids living near green space have less likeliness of asthma.

Conserving our planet it not just for “green” people, it is for anyone who wants improved community health and well-being.   

Want more information on trees and their health benefits?  If you are looking for something to read as an alternative to binge watching, these articles discuss green space and health in detail.

Dzhambova, A., Dimitrakovac, E., & Dimitrova, E. (2014). Association between residential greenness and birth weight: Systematic review and meta-analysis. Urban Forestry & Urban Greening, 13, 621-629.

Kaczynski, A. T., & Henderson, K. A. (2007). Environmental Correlates of Physical Activity: A Review of Evidence about Parks and Recreation. Leisure Sciences An Interdisciplinary Journal, 29(4), 315-354.

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