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WOMEN LIVE LONGER NEAR GREENERY.

Women live longer in areas with more green vegetation, according to research in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives. Women with the highest levels of vegetation, or greenness, near their homes have a 12% lower death rate compared to women with the lowest levels of vegetation.

The researchers found the biggest differences in death rates from kidney and respiratory disease and cancer. The researchers also explored how an environment with trees, shrubs, and plants might lower mortality rates. They showed that improved mental health and social engagement are the strongest factors, while increased physical activity and reduced air pollution also contribute.

"It is important to know that trees and plants provide health benefits in our communities, as well as beauty," says Linda Birnbaum, director of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. 'The finding of reduced mortality suggests that vegetation may be important to health in a broad range of ways."

The study, conducted by scientists at the Harvard School of Public Health and Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, examined greenness around the homes of 108,630 women in the long-term Nurses' Health Study. The researchers mapped home locations and used high resolution satellite imagery to determine the level of vegetation within 250 meters and 1,250 meters of homes. They then followed the women for eight years, tracking changes in vegetation and participant deaths.

The scientists consistently found lower mortality rates in women as levels of trees and plants increased around their homes. This trend was seen for separate causes of death, as well as when all causes were combined. When researchers compared women in the areas with highest greenness to women in the lowest, they found a 41 % lower death rate for kidney disease, 34% for respiratory disease, and 13% for cancer in the greenest areas.

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Title Annotation:YOUR LIFE
Publication:USA Today (Magazine)
Article Type:Brief article
Date:Jan 1, 2019
Words:298
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