Living near `green space` is good for health

Updated: Oct 16, 2009, 00:00 AM IST

London: Living near a ‘green space’ can significantly benefit health, according to new research.

The study, published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, says proximity to ‘green spaces’ can especially bring down the rates of mental illness.

It was also found that the yearly rates of 15 out of 24 major physical disorders were also noticeably lower among people living closer to green spaces.

A team from the VU University Medical Centre in Amsterdam reviewed the health records of nearly 350,000 people across the Netherlands, registered with their GP for over a year, to come up with the conclusions.

It was found that closeness to green spaces were very beneficial for some common disorders.

The researches also concluded that health benefits were optimal when greenery was within a one-kilometre radius from the place of residence.

Anxiety disorders and depression also showed lower rates in greener areas.

In more built up areas 32 people per 1000 suffered from depression as compared to 24 per 1000 in the greener belts.

Children younger than 12 years were seen to profit the most from green environs.

They had 21 percent less risk of suffering from depression in the greener areas.

The BBC quoted Dr Jolanda Maas of the VU University Medical Centre in Amsterdam, as saying: "It clearly shows that green spaces are not just a luxury but they relate directly to diseases and the way people feel in their living environments.

"Most of the diseases which are related to green spaces are diseases which are highly prevalent and costly to treat so policy makers need to realise that this is something they may be able to diminish with green spaces."