Scientists Have Finally Discovered That Living Near Trees Is Good For Your Health!


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But that’s not the only possible explanation. Others, says Berman, include stress reduction that comes from being around greenery — a mental effect that translates into physical benefits — or the possibility that being around trees somehow increases one’s propensity to exercise. He also suggests that air quality improvement alone may not be able to explain why people subjectively perceive their health to be better when they live around more trees, in addition to the improvements seen in other health measures — implying a possible psychological factor.

“People have sort of neglected the psychological benefits of the environment,” said Berman. “And I think that’s sort of gotten reinvigorated now, with these kinds of studies.” Particularly beneficial to the research has been the availability of satellite techniques to precisely quantify the amount of green space in a given residential area, he said – and the ability to combine that kind of data with large health databases.

It’s important to note that while the research was conducted based on data from the city of Toronto — which being in Canada, its citizens have universal health care — that is not necessarily a problem, as health disparities still exist in Toronto. “Canadians with lower incomes and fewer years of schooling visit specialists at a lower rate than those with moderate or high incomes and higher levels of education despite the existence of universal health care,” the study notes.


One interesting finding — that street trees seemed to have a more beneficial effect than private or backyard trees — may be explained by the fact that they are “more accessible to all residents in a given neighborhood,” the paper notes.

The researchers are not shy about using these results to make policy prescriptions — they think it would be well worth the cost to plant more urban trees. “Ten more trees in every block is about [a] 4% increase in street tree density in a dissemination area in Toronto, which seems to be logistically feasible,” the study notes.

“I’d feel pretty confident to say to a municipality, increase the number of trees by 10″ per block, said Berman.

via:  The Washington Post

 

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