People who live close to parks or other “green spaces” are likely to be healthier, a new study suggests. Dutch researchers scoured the health records of 345,000 people, comparing their health status to the amount of green space in the surrounding area, from a half-mile to 2-mile radius. Of 24 health conditions—including cardiovascular, respiratory, and neurological diseases—people living in purely urban areas suffered higher instances of 15 of them, notes HealthDay.
The connection is strongest with anxiety disorders and depression—instances of these diseases were nearly twice as high in people who lived in areas with 10% green space compared to people in areas with 90% green space. "As health-care costs spiral out of control, it behooves us to think about our green space in terms of preventive health care,” says a dean at Texas A&M. (Read more nature stories.)