Exposure to Greenness and Mortality
In this nationwide study of adult women, higher levels of greenness around each participant’s address were associated with lower rates of all-cause, non-accidental mortality, regardless of adjustment for age, race/ethnicity, and smoking.
James, Peter et al. (2016). Exposure to Greenness and Mortality in a Nationwide Prospective Cohort Study of Women. Environmental Health Perspectives. Published online 14 April 2016. DOI:10.1289/ehp.1510363.
Green, natural environments may ameliorate adverse environmental exposures (e.g. air pollution, noise, and extreme heat), increase physical activity and social engagement, and lower stress. We aimed to examine the prospective association between residential greenness and mortality.
In models adjusted for mortality risk factors (age, race/ethnicity, smoking, and individual- and area-level socioeconomic status), women living in the highest quintile of cumulative average greenness (accounting for changes in residence during follow-up) in the 250m area around their home had a 12% lower rate of all-cause non-accidental mortality (95% CI 0.82, 0.94) compared to those in the lowest quintile. Results were consistent for the 1,250m area, although the relationship was slightly attenuated. These associations were strongest for respiratory and cancer mortality. Findings from a mediation analysis suggest that the association between greenness and mortality may be at least partly mediated by physical activity, particulate matter less than 2.5 micrometers, social engagement, and depression.