A new study has confirmed that trees, parks and gardens near residential homes in cities can prevent premature deaths.
Researchers from the Barcelona Institute for Global Health (ISGlobal) have conducted the largest ever study on the connection between urban green spaces and mortality. They analyzed nine studies worldwide that included over eight million individuals from seven different countries: Canada, the United States, Spain, Italy, Australia, Switzerland and China.
The conclusions of their meta-analysis is clear: increasing residential green spaces is significantly associated with reduced premature mortality. More specifically, the study estimates that a 4% reduction in premature mortality can be achieved per increment of 0.1 in vegetation score within 500 meters of a person’s residence.
The researchers are now applying the results of their meta-analysis to estimate the number of premature deaths that could be prevented in cities around the world if cities achieve their ambitious goals of increasing green infrastructures.
The study results could be used by urban planners to support policies that increase green spaces as a strategy for improving public health.
“Urban greening programs are not only key to promoting public health, but they also increase biodiversity and mitigate the impacts of climate change, making our cities more sustainable and livable,” said Mark Nieuwenhuijsen, director of the Urban Planning, Environment and Health Initiative at ISGlobal.
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