Healthier living: Living in the countryside increases life expectancy

Healthier living: Living in the countryside increases life expectancy

A place of residence with lots of trees and plants improves general health
Do you live near green areas, parks or in rural areas? Then you could have gained health benefits from where you live. Scientists have now found that people living in the green have an increased life expectancy.

How does it affect when people live close to nature and green spaces? Researchers from Harvard T.S. Chan School of Public Health found in a study of women that living in a green area increases our life expectancy and can improve our health. The doctors published the results of their study in the journal "Environmental Health Perspectives".

Study examined more than 108,000 women in the United States
For their study, the researchers looked at the data from more than 108,000 women in the United States. All information was collected between 2000 and 2008, the researchers say. The doctors found that women who live in a green area with lots of plants and trees were about 12 percent less likely to die compared to women who live in a non-green area. Also, women who had a lot of vegetation around their home saw a 34 percent lower rate of fatal respiratory diseases, the doctors add. Such women also had a lower risk of developing cancer. The value was 13 percent lower than that of women in urban areas who had hardly any plants and trees around, the experts say.

Green living leads to improvement of mental health
Although the study showed that living in the countryside can prolong our lives, it was not designed to establish a cause-and-effect relationship, the authors explain. Further research is therefore needed to determine the exact causes. We were really surprised that there was such a strong association between increased greening and increasing life expectancy, says study author Peter James of the Harvard T.S. Chan School of Public Health in Boston. The researchers were even more astonished to find evidence that much of the impact of green living also appears to be linked to mental health improvement, James said in a press release.

Living in the green prevents depression and increases physical activity
Improved mental health, for example, makes depression less likely to develop. The experts explain that green living in the countryside is more advantageous because there are more opportunities for social interaction, people in such areas usually do more sport and generally do more physical activities. In addition, the authors say that there is less pollution caused by air pollution in rural areas or in green residential areas. (as)

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