Surrounding Greenness and Pregnancy Outcomes in Four Spanish Birth Cohorts

Centre for Research in Environmental Epidemiology (CREAL), Barcelona, Spain
Environmental Health Perspectives (Impact Factor: 7.98). 08/2012; 120(10):1481-7. DOI: 10.1289/ehp.1205244
Source: PubMed


Background: Green spaces have been associated with improved physical and mental health; however, the available evidence on the impact of green spaces on pregnancy is scarce.
Objectives: We investigated the association between surrounding greenness and birth weight, head circumference, and gestational age at delivery.
Methods: This study was based on 2,393 singleton live births from four Spanish birth cohorts (Asturias, Gipuzkoa, Sabadell, and Valencia) located in two regions of the Iberian Peninsula with distinct climates and vegetation patterns (2003–2008). We defined surrounding greenness as average of satellite-based Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) (Landsat 4–5 TM data at 30 m × 30 m resolution) during 2007 in buffers of 100 m, 250 m, and 500 m around each maternal place of residence. Separate linear mixed models with adjustment for potential confounders and a random cohort effect were used to estimate the change in birth weight, head circumference, and gestational age for 1-interquartile range increase in surrounding greenness.
Results: Higher surrounding greenness was associated with increases in birth weight and head circumference [adjusted regression coefficients (95% confidence interval) of 44.2 g (20.2 g, 68.2 g) and 1.7 mm (0.5 mm, 2.9 mm) for an interquartile range increase in average NDVI within a 500-m buffer] but not gestational age. These findings were robust against the choice of the buffer size and the season of data acquisition for surrounding greenness, and when the analysis was limited to term births. Stratified analyses indicated stronger associations among children of mothers with lower education, suggesting greater benefits from surrounding greenness.
Conclusions: Our findings suggest a beneficial impact of surrounding greenness on measures of fetal growth but not pregnancy length.

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    • "Beneficial human responses include physical activity that can reduce incidences of chronic diseases, physiological stress moderation, and improved mental health. For instance, urban forest canopy proximate to households has been associated with higher infant birth weight (Dadvand et al. 2012), and green urban neighborhoods with reductions in elder mortality (Takano et al. 2002). "
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    ABSTRACT: Nearly 40 years of research provides an extensive body of evidence about human health, well-being, and improved function benefits associated with experiences of nearby nature in cities. We demonstrate the numerous opportunities for future research efforts that link metro nature, human health and well-being outcomes, and economic values. We reviewed the literature on urban nature-based health and well-being benefits and provide a classification schematic, then propose potential economic values associated with metro nature services. Economic valuation of benefits derived from urban green systems has largely been undertaken in the environmental and natural resource economics fields, but have not typically addressed health outcomes. Urban trees, parks, gardens, open spaces and other nearby nature elements, collectively termed metro nature, generate many positive externalities that have been largely overlooked in urban economics and policy. Here, a range of health benefits is identified and presented, including benefit context and beneficiaries. Although the understanding of these benefits is not yet consistently expressed, and although it is likely that attempts to link urban ecosystem services and economic values will not include all expressions of cultural or social value, the development of new interdisciplinary approaches that integrate environmental health and economic disciplines are greatly needed. Metro nature provides diverse and substantial benefits to human populations in cities. This article begins to address the need for development of valuation methodologies, and new approaches to understanding the potential economic outcomes of these benefits.
    Environmental Health Perspectives 01/2015; 123(5). DOI:10.1289/ehp.1408216 · 7.98 Impact Factor
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    • "A 500-m buffer, which was assumed to be a proxy for a child's neighbourhood, should represent a distance reachable within 10 min of walking (Villeneuve et al., 2012) as children have limited mobility compared to adults (Duncan et al., 2011). Previous studies examining the effects of green spaces on children and adult health have also used this buffer size (Dadvand et al., 2012; Kyttä et al., 2012; Villeneuve et al., 2012). We repeated this analysis using a 300-m buffer, which is in-line with the European Commission's recommendations for access to green spaces (Ludlow et al., 2003). "
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    ABSTRACT: AIM: We investigated whether objectively measured access to urban green spaces is associated with behavioural problems in 10-year old children living in Munich and its surrounding areas. METHODS: Behavioural problems were assessed in the GINIplus and LISAplus 10-year follow-up between 2006 and 2009 using the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire. Access to green spaces was defined using the distance from a child's residence to the nearest urban green space. Associations between access to urban green spaces and behavioural problems were assessed using proportional odds and logistic regression models in 1932 children with complete exposure, outcome and covariate data. RESULTS: The distance between a child's residence and the nearest urban green space was positively associated with the odds of hyperactivity/inattention, especially among children with abnormal values compared to children with borderline or normal values (odds ratio (OR)=1.20 (95% confidence interval (CI)=1.01-1.42) per 500m increase in distance). When stratified by sex, this association was only statistically significant among males. Children living further than 500m away from urban green spaces had more overall behavioural problems than those living within 500m of urban green spaces (proportional OR=1.41 (95% CI=1.06-1.87)). Behavioural problems were not associated with the distance to forests or with residential surrounding greenness. CONCLUSION: Poor access to urban green spaces was associated with behavioural problems in 10-year old children. Results were most consistent with hyperactivity/inattention problems.
    Environment International 06/2014; 71C:29-35. DOI:10.1016/j.envint.2014.06.002 · 5.56 Impact Factor
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    • "A 500 m buffer should represent a distance reachable within 10 minutes of walking [18] and is assumed to be a proxy for a child’s neighbourhood, as children are not as mobile as adults [19]. Previous studies on greenness and child and adult health, some of which were conducted by our group, have used this same buffer size [18,20-22]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Background According to Ulrich’s psychoevolutionary theory, contact with green environments mitigates stress by activating the parasympathetic system, (specifically, by decreasing blood pressure (BP)). Experimental studies have confirmed this biological effect. However, greenness effects on BP have not yet been explored using an observational study design. We assessed whether surrounding residential greenness is associated with BP in 10 year-old German children. Methods Systolic and diastolic BPs were assessed in 10 year-old children residing in the Munich and Wesel study areas of the German GINIplus and LISAplus birth cohorts. Complete exposure, outcome and covariate data were available for 2,078 children. Residential surrounding greenness was defined as the mean of Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) values, derived from Landsat 5 TM satellite images, in circular 500-m buffers around current home addresses of participants. Generalized additive models assessed pooled and area-specific associations between BP and residential greenness categorized into area-specific tertiles. Results In the pooled adjusted model, the systolic BP of children living at residences with low and moderate greenness was 0.90 ± 0.50 mmHg (p-value = 0.073) and 1.23 ± 0.50 mmHg (p-value = 0.014) higher, respectively, than the systolic BP of children living in areas of high greenness. Similarly, the diastolic BP of children living in areas with low and moderate greenness was 0.80 ± 0.38 mmHg (p-value = 0.033) and 0.96 ± 0.38 mmHg (p-value = 0.011) higher, respectively, than children living in areas with high greenness. These associations were not influenced by environmental stressors (temperature, air pollution, noise annoyance, altitude and urbanisation level). When stratified by study area, associations were significant among children residing in the urbanised Munich area but null for those in the rural Wesel area. Conclusions Lower residential greenness was positively associated with higher BP in 10 year-old children living in an urbanised area. Further studies varying in participants’ age, geographical area and urbanisation level are required.
    BMC Public Health 05/2014; 14(1):477. DOI:10.1186/1471-2458-14-477 · 2.26 Impact Factor
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