A walk in the woods. A stroll through a city park. How often have you lost yourself in nature and felt instantly better? We know from previous studies that green spaces—areas with lots of plants and trees—have a positive effect on human health, and now a new study has found evidence that living in greener areas is particularly beneficial for women.
Researchers from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston recently completed a long-term study involving more than 100,000 women across the country. Using satellite imagery to detect vegetation levels in a given area, they were able to determine that women who lived closest to green spaces actually lived longer than those living in areas where there was little to no greenery.
Results of the study, published online in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives, noted a 12 percent lower mortality rate overall, as well as a strong link to better respiratory health and fewer cancer-related deaths. Not only that, but living in close proximity to green spaces was also associated with improvements in mental health and lower levels of depression.
Study authors believe their findings present a unique opportunity for cities and communities to improve the health and well-being of residents by adding more green spaces.