studies have associated natural outdoor environments with reduced mortality.
This review, published in Environment
International and carried out by CREAL and ISGlobal researchers,
supports the hypothesis that living in areas with higher amounts of green
spaces reduces mortality, mainly cardiovascular diseases.
The researchers aimed to systematically review the available evidence on the association between long-term exposure to residential green spaces and mortality in adults. The objectives of the study were on the one hand to make recommendations for future research and, on the other hand, to provide health professionals and policy makers with tools and data to translate the evidence available into interventions and policies to improve public health in the urban areas.
"Our review identified 12 eligible studies conducted in North America, Europe, and Oceania with study populations ranging from almost 2,000 up to more than 43 million individuals. These studies are heterogeneous in design, study population, green space assessment and covariate data. We found that the majority of studies show a reduction of the risk of cardiovascular disease mortality in areas with higher residential greenness", explained Mark Nieuwenhuijsen, researcher at CREAL, an ISGlobal allied center, and coordinator of the study.
"No benefits of residential greenness on lung cancer mortality were observed and there are no studies on blue spaces (lakes, rivers, sea, etc.) and health", said Mireia Gascon, researcher at CREAL and ISGlobal, and first author of this study.
According to the researchers, further studies that include socioeconomic status are needed to provide more complete evidence. Studies evaluating the benefits of blue spaces are also urgently needed.
This review was made in the framework of the ISGlobal alliance, whose main goal is to forge a basic and translational global health research centre with sufficient critical mass to become an international leader in the fight against global health problems such as infectious and non-communicable diseases, as well as their environmental determinants.
M. Gascon, M. Triguero-Mas, D. Martínez, P. Dadvand, D. Rojas-Rueda, A. Plasència and M. J. Nieuwenhuijsen. Residential green spaces and mortality: A systematic review. Environment Internacional. 86 (2016) 60–67