The Green Space Equalizer

Living near green space may have significant impact on our health and longevity, regardless of wealth.

A new study from a team of UK researchers shows that access to green space is an important factor in reducing health inequities between the haves and have-nots. The study, published in the prestigious peer-reviewed British medical journal The Lancet, found that the so-called "health gap" between the richest and poorest people across the UK was about half as large in areas with lots of parks, forestland and open space than in the least "green" areas.

To arrive at their surprising conclusions, researchers examined health records from some 41 million people in five different regions of England. They also looked at death records for 366,348 UK residents to determine the association between access to green space, income, and mortality between 2001 and 2005.

"The size of the difference in the health gap is surprising and represented a much bigger effect than I had been expecting," said Richard Mitchell of the University of Glasgow, the study’s lead author. "The implications
are clear: environments that promote good health might be crucial in the fight to reduce health inequalities."

Source: Washington Post