Living Near Nature Linked to Longer Lives: New Study


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The trees, shrubs and plants outside your home might offer something more than just pretty scenery. A new study found that living in, or near, green areas can help women live longer and improve their mental health.

Researchers from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and Brigham and Women’s Hospital examined more than 108,000 women enrolled in the Nurse’s Health Study — a nationwide investigation into risk factors for major chronic diseases in women — from 2000 to 2008.

They compared risk of death with the amount of plant life and vegetation near the women’s homes and found that women living in the greenest areas had a 12% lower death rate than women living in the least green areas. The levels of vegetation were determined using satellite imagery from different seasons and years.

“We were surprised to see that there was a 12 percent lower rate of mortality,” said Peter James, study author and research associate at the Harvard Chan School’s Department of Epidemiology. “We know already that vegetation can help mitigate the effect of climate change. Our study suggests the potential co-benefit for health.”

The team believes the findings would be similar if men were included in the study.

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How Greenery Can Prolong Life

When analyzing specific causes of death among the study participants, researchers found that women in greener areas had a 41% lower death rate for kidney disease, a 34% lower death rate for respiratory disease and a 13% lower death rate for cancer than those living in areas with less greenery.

The study suggests that several factors might play a role in reducing the death rate, including improved mental health, which was measured through levels of depression and estimated to explain 30% of the benefit from living in greener areas. Increased opportunities for social engagement, increased physical activity and lower exposure to air pollution may also play important roles, according to the study.

“We were surprised at the magnitude of the mental health pathway,” James said.

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Though previous studies have examined the health benefits of exposure to nature, this new study is the first to take a nationwide look at the link between greenness and death rates over a period of several years, he said.

“To the best of our knowledge, this is the first study that looks at residence-based exposure conducted across a broad geographic range, across the entire United States,” he said.

The team adjusted for individual socioeconomic measures and individual health risk factors, such as smoking, helping remove concerns over other factors that could explain the link.

Nature Comes in Many Forms

James stressed that the results of the study aren’t suggesting that people need to move far out to the country in order to live a long life, simply that any increased vegetation seems to be linked to lower mortality.

“I want to point out that 84 percent of study participants live in urban areas,” he said. “We are not saying you need to live near a park.”

The findings may inform design and planning in neighborhoods. “Policymakers, planners and architects may have this tool to create more healthy and sustainable places,” James said.

“This study is another step in adding to the evidence that nature may be related to better health.”

Source: CNN

10 comments on "Living Near Nature Linked to Longer Lives: New Study"

  1. Venkataraman gopalan says:

    Good ,i interesting article .motivating people to preserve nature & ennoy living i n it’s proximity !

  2. G.sri Devi. says:

    Good infermetion

  3. Ramesh Reimer-Vashist says:

    Hallo my Sisters & Brothers
    Good Morning
    We are very thankful & very very happy to have guide lines from OM Living near Nature.
    Thanks
    RKV

  4. Durai says:

    The benefits of living nearer to NATURE ARE:

    I. We get to breathe fresh unpolluted air.
    2. There is a universal energy called PRANA. It is called life-force by Hindus. And this prana is maximum wherever Nature is in its pristine purity. So the nearer we are to Nature the more prana we imbibe.
    3. Natural vegetation has a soothing effect on the mind and thereby it helps reduce stress. Remember, stress is a major cause of a lot of degenerative disirders.
    NATURE IS A VOLUME (BOOK) WHOSE AUTHOR IS GOOD.
    So the nearer we are to Nature the nearer we are to God.

  5. Durai says:

    OM

    THE DIVINE MELODY

    Life is a song. It is a Song Celestial. The whole universe is a great Symphony. God is the Master Composer. God is the Master Conductor and the result is this Cosmic Symphony!

    The bird sings. The flower sings. The river sings. The animal sings. The wind sings. The rain sings. The sky sings. The thunder sings. Every thing here sings and sings the Divine Song.

    Man too ought to sing; but alas, his is the only discordant note in this beautiful Cosmic Symphony. Not that he does not sing; he sings but not as part of the Symphony. He sings as he likes, so his is the only discordant note. He thinks he is the Composer, he is the Conductor and that is his ignorance.

    Religion points out this error of man. When he corrects this error and takes part in this Cosmic Symphony with knowledge, then his life too becomes a Divine Melody. Then he enjoys the Cosmic Melody, which is Cosmic Harmony, which is Cosmic Rhythm.

    Let us pray, that by His Grace we may take part in this Cosmic Symphony and make our lives a Divine Melody.
    May He enlighten our understanding.

    So, we have to harmonise with the world order and fall in line with the orchestra by liquidating our ego. We must merge with the totality around us. Our wrong actions alone disturb us and the environment around us.

    It is through KARMA YOGA that we learn to harmonise our actions with the universe of which we are a part.

    DISHARMONY WITH NATURE IS THE GENESIS OF ALL DISEASES.

    ANIMALS LIVE BY INSTINCT AND THEREFORE THEY ARE PROGRAMMED TO LIVE IN HARMONY WITH NATURE AND THEY SELDOM FALL ILL ESPECIALLY THOSE THAT LIVE IN THE WILD.

  6. Durai says:

    PONDER THIS

    All are parts of one stupendous whole,
    Whose body Nature is,
    And God the soul.

    Alexander Pope

  7. Durai says:

    PONDER THIS ALSO

    Man is fast becoming the cancer of the earth.

    Julian Huxley

    There is one group of people that believes in breeding like rodents with the ulterior motive of prevailing upon others and claim that they have the fastest growing religion in the world. What a retrogressive group !!!

  8. Durai says:

    BY THE WAY, MORE PRANA IN US MEANS MORE ENERGY, MORE YOUTHFULNESS, LONG LIFE AND GOOD HEALTH.

    AND LESS PRANA MEANS EARLY ONSET OF DISEASE DECAY AND DEATH !!!

  9. Dr P. Jaffar Ali Khan says:

    It is absolutely true that humans are distant in themselves from.the nature in a vain effort to seek comfort and hence ecoming a victim. of several incurable diseases. They are their own making!

  10. Dr B K Mukherjee says:

    In malaria prone and polluted areas,it is advised to go for massive plantation of holy basil(Ocimum tenuiflorum).It not only absorb pollutants but also keep the environment bacteria/virus free .It will also add ozone to the environment thereby make us healthy.

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