Free Press Journal

‘Leafy’ neighbourhood adds years to your life


Washington :  Women live longer in areas with more green vegetation, according to a new study which found that females with the highest levels of greenness near their homes had a 12 per cent lower death rate compared to ones with the lowest levels of vegetation near their homes, says PTI.


Researchers found the biggest differences in death rates were from kidney disease, respiratory disease, and cancer. They also explored how an environment with trees, shrubs, and plants might lower mortality rates.

They showed that improved mental health and social engagement are the strongest factors, while increased physical activity and reduced air pollution also contribute.

“It is important to know that trees and plants provide health benefits in our communities, as well as beauty,” said Linda Birnbaum from National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) in the US.

“The finding of reduced mortality suggests that vegetation may be important to health in a broad range of ways,” said Birnbaum.

The study, conducted by scientists at Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health and Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, examined greenness around the homes of 108,630 women in the long-term Nurses’ Health Study. Researchers mapped home locations and used high resolution satellite imagery to determine the level of vegetation within 250 metres and 1,250 metres of homes.

They then followed the women from 2000 to 2008, tracking changes in vegetation and participant deaths. During the study, 8,604 deaths occurred.

Scientists consistently found lower mortality rates in women as levels of trees and plants increased around their homes. This trend was seen for separate causes of death, as well as when all causes were combined.