A new study has found that women live longer in nature. The study, “Exposure to Greenness and Mortality in a Nationwide Prospective Cohort Study of Women,” collected health information biennially on more than 100,000 female registered nurses in the U.S. since 1976.
The researchers looked at what happened to those women and also accessed their proximity to green vegetation (using satellite data).
“Higher levels of green vegetation were associated with decreased mortality,” the researchers concluded. “Policies to increase vegetation may provide opportunities for physical activity, reduce harmful exposures, increase social engagement, and improve mental health.
“While planting vegetation may mitigate effects of climate change, evidence of an association between vegetation and lower mortality rates suggests it also might be used to improve health.
From the discussion in the report:
“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, smoking, individual-level SES, and area-level SES. These findings were strongest for cancer, respiratory, and kidney-disease mortality. Results were consistent when focusing on the area immediately around each residence (250m buffer) versus a larger radius (1,250m buffer) around each participant’s home. Results were strongest when examining cumulative average exposure to greenness versus contemporaneous greenness, suggesting a larger benefit of chronic exposure to greenness for health.
“The association between greenness and mortality was not statistically significantly different by race/ethnicity, physical activity, smoking status, area-level SES, air pollution exposure, weight status, region of the US, whether a participant lived in a rural or urban area, or whether a participant moved over followup. Assuming that assumptions of the mediation analysis hold, our estimates suggest that a large proportion of the association between greenness and mortality may be explained through mental health pathways of depression risk and social engagement, which subsequently impacted mortality.”
The study: Exposure to Greenness and Mortality in a Nationwide Prospective Cohort Study of Women (link)