Do you live near a nice patch of green? There is more evidence that being close to parks, woods, or other natural settings may improve your mental and physical health.
A study out of the Netherlands finds that proximity to green spaces is associated with less depression, anxiety, and other health problems. The relationship was strongest for children and people with low incomes.
Investigators in the Netherlands examined health records from 350,000 patients in medical practices throughout the country. Using postal codes, they were also able to determine the percentage of green space existing within about 2 miles of each patient’s home.
The impact was greatest for mental health conditions. Compared to people living in areas with the least green spaces, those living in areas with the most were a third less likely to have anxiety disorders that required treatment and roughly one-fifth less likely to receive treatment for depression.
• When it came to physical health conditions, the protective benefits of living in greener areas appeared strongest for respiratory diseases such as asthma, COPD, and upper respiratory infections.
There was a much weaker association for other common health conditions, including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and cancer.