Morbidity is related to a green living environment

EMGO Institute, VU University Medical Centre, Van der Boechorststraat 7, 1081 BT Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
Journal of epidemiology and community health (Impact Factor: 3.5). 10/2009; 63(12):967-73. DOI: 10.1136/jech.2008.079038
Source: PubMed


As a result of increasing urbanisation, people face the prospect of living in environments with few green spaces. There is increasing evidence for a positive relation between green space in people's living environment and self-reported indicators of physical and mental health. This study investigates whether physician-assessed morbidity is also related to green space in people's living environment.
Morbidity data were derived from electronic medical records of 195 general practitioners in 96 Dutch practices, serving a population of 345,143 people. Morbidity was classified by the general practitioners according to the International Classification of Primary Care. The percentage of green space within a 1 km and 3 km radius around the postal code coordinates was derived from an existing database and was calculated for each household. Multilevel logistic regression analyses were performed, controlling for demographic and socioeconomic characteristics.
The annual prevalence rate of 15 of the 24 disease clusters was lower in living environments with more green space in a 1 km radius. The relation was strongest for anxiety disorder and depression. The relation was stronger for children and people with a lower socioeconomic status. Furthermore, the relation was strongest in slightly urban areas and not apparent in very strongly urban areas.
This study indicates that the previously established relation between green space and a number of self-reported general indicators of physical and mental health can also be found for clusters of specific physician-assessed morbidity. The study stresses the importance of green space close to home for children and lower socioeconomic groups.

Download full-text


Available from: Robert A Verheij
  • Source
    • "There is an existing body of evidence that outlines the range of health and well-being benefits people can gain from accessing woodlands and greenspace7891011121314151617. Our research adds to this body of evidence by focusing specifically on peri-urban woodlands near to large centres of population. "

    Full-text · Dataset · Jan 2016
    • "Previous epidemiological studies have primarily focused on the association between mental health and the amount of green space in the living environment. These studies either have objectively measured the amount of green space using different distance buffers around the respondent's residence (Maas et al., 2009aMaas et al., , 2009b van Dillen et al., 2012; White et al., 2013 ) or used a subjective measure by asking the respondents to assess the greenness of their neighbourhood (Sugiyama et al., 2008). Few studies have focused on visits to green spaces. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Many epidemiological studies have found that people living in environments with more green space report better physical and mental health than those with less green space. However, the association between visits to green space and mental health has seldom been studied. The current study explored the associations between time spent in green spaces by purposeful visits and perceived mental health and vitality in four different European cities, and to what extent gender, age, level of education, attitude towards nature and childhood nature experience moderate these associations. Data was gathered using a questionnaire administered in four European cities (total n=3748). Multilevel analyses showed significant positive associations between time spent visiting green spaces and mental health and vitality in the pooled data, as well as across the four cities. Significant effect modification was found for level of education and childhood nature experience. The findings confirm the hypothesis that more time spent in green space is associated with higher scores on mental health and vitality scales, independent of cultural and climatic contexts.
    No preview · Article · Jan 2016 · Health & Place
  • Source
    • "Research in public health[1], environmental psychology[2], landscape architecture[3]and other disciplines continues to accumulate supporting the idea that nearby natural environments[4], green exercise[5,6], and nature-based activities[7]positively impact human health and wellbeing. At the same time, the urbanized, media-based culture is increasingly linked to a more sedentary lifestyle and poorer health[8,9]and is suspected of decreasing both time in nature and connection to nature[10]. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Evidence continues to grow supporting the idea that restorative environments, green exercise, and nature-based activities positively impact human health. Nature-deficit disorder, a journalistic term proposed to describe the ill effects of people’s alienation from nature, is not yet formally recognized as a medical diagnosis. However, over the past decade, the phrase has been enthusiastically taken up by some segments of the lay public. Social media, such as Twitter, with its opportunities to gather “big data” related to public opinions, offers a medium for exploring the discourse and dissemination around nature-deficit disorder and other nature–health concepts. In this paper, we report our experience of collecting more than 175,000 tweets, applying sentiment analysis to measure positive, neutral or negative feelings, and preliminarily mapping the impact on dissemination. Sentiment analysis is currently used to investigate the repercussions of events in social networks, scrutinize opinions about products and services, and understand various aspects of the communication in Web-based communities. Based on a comparison of nature-deficit-disorder “hashtags” and more generic nature hashtags, we make recommendations for the better dissemination of public health messages through changes to the framing of messages. We show the potential of Twitter to aid in better understanding the impact of the natural environment on human health and wellbeing.
    Preview · Article · Jan 2016 · International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Show more