Living Near Nature Linked To Longer Lives
A new study from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and Brigham and Women’s Hospital, has found that living in, or near, green areas can help women live longer lives and improve their mental health. And I for one believe it! For me, there is something spiritual that happens to me, the calm, peace, and clear head that I experience when I’m standing at the waters edge. It’s easier to breathe. Less difficult to just “be”. It recharges me.
For the study, researchers examined more than 108,000 women who had enrolled in the Nurse’s Health Study (a nationwide investigation into risk factors for major chronic diseases in women) from 2000 to 2008. They found that women living in the greenest areas had a 12% lower death rate than those who lived in the least green areas (levels of vegetation were determined using satellite imagery from different seasons and years). The researchers also made sure to adjust for individual socioeconomics and health risk factors, like smoking. CNN reports that the study’s author, Peter James, said the team was surprised with the information they found, “We know already that vegetation can help mitigate the effect of climate change. Our study suggests the potential co-benefit for health.” They believe the same information would be true about men, were they to rerun the study and include them.