Healthy Environments

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

The closer you live to nature, the healthier youre likely to be, concludes a study by researchers in the Netherlands. Dr. Edward Hill tells us more about the study in todays 60 Second Housecall.

Living near parks, woods or other green spaces isnt just good for the animals, it may improve a persons mental and physical health.

Close proximity to green spaces was associated with less depression, anxiety and other health problems.

Researchers in the Netherlands examined patient health records from medical practices throughout the country. The study included data on the prevalence of 24 different health conditions treated over the course of a year among about 350,000 patients.

For 15 of the 24 conditions, the annual prevalence was lower among patients living in the greenest areas.

The impact was greatest for mental health conditions. People living in areas with the most green spaces were a third less likely to have anxiety disorders and one-fifth less likely to receive treatment for depression.

The apparent protective benefits of living in greener areas appeared strongest for respiratory diseases such as asthma, COPD and upper respiratory infections.

Earlier studies have suggested that green spaces improve health by lowering stress and encouraging exercise.

For North Mississippi Medical Center, Im Dr. Edward Hill.