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Access to Green Space = Less Health Inequities

A newly released study from Britain shows that health inequities are less likely in areas with greater access to green space.

In areas with the most green space, the health gap between the richest and poorest people was about half as large as that in the least green areas — an incident rate ratio (IRR) of 1.93 in the least green and 1.43 in the most green. IRR is a measure of how much higher the rate of death is among the poorest, when compared with that among the richest. The difference in IRR for circulatory disease was even larger — 2.19 in the least green areas and 1.54 in the most green. The amount of green space had no effect on deaths caused by lung cancer or suicide.

“The implications of this study are clear: Environments that promote good health might be crucial in the fight to reduce health inequalities,” Mitchell and colleagues concluded.

Suburbs can be quite green — but studies are also showing that the traditional suburban form can foster obesity and bad health. If from a public health standpoint, less spread out living is healthier, possible gains might be lost unless residents have adequate access to parks. This is further evidence that as cities become more densely populated and compact, there is great importance in creating accessible parks that increase livability and health.

One Response

  1. […] access to urban parks and green space results in healthier children. (We posted last month on a similar study from Britain, and TPL’s publication the Health Benefits of Parks collects more research into […]

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