Study Discovers Big Health Benefits of Living Near Trees

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Can the living near trees improve the health? The researchers that were set out to discover this question say that it might. One recent study discovered that the residents in the urban neighborhoods where there are many trees reported feeling much healthier and had fewer cardio-metabolic conditions, like diabetes and heart disease.

There have been done some studies that advice green space is better for the health, but some few studies have analyzed the connection between individual trees and health. The researchers planned to quantify just how much one tree on a street can improve the health.

They gathered the health records of 31,000 adult people that live in Toronto, which included the residents’ household income, cardio-metabolic conditions, the perception of their own health and years of education. The researchers combined this information with public data and satellite imagery on half a million trees in Toronto.

The study that was published in Scientific Reports, discovered that planting ten or more trees in one city block, on average, raised how someone rated their own health and decreased the cardio-metabolic conditions. According to the study, these health improvements were comparable to the “moving to a neighborhood with $10,000 higher income, increase in the annual income of $10,000 and being seven years younger.

Marc Berman, the co-author, said to The Washington Post that after controlling for education, income and age, the study discovered a noticeable independent effect of trees planted on the street on the health.

The Researchers chose Toronto for their study because the residents benefit from the universal health care of Canada, so access to doctors should not vary like in the places without universal health care that reduces the impact of trees on health. The universal health care does not delete all disparities like that that the Canadians with fewer years of schooling and lower incomes visit specialists that are at a lower rate, than those people with high or moderate incomes and higher levels of education, according to the study.

While the study’s results discovered a connection between health and trees, it can’t show effect and cause. The researchers cannot pinpoint why the trees improved the health, but advises that it may have something to do with the relieving of stress, improvement in air quality, or promoting physical activity. Also, the study was limited by the data. Although the researchers controlled for many factors, the perception of someone of their own health is really subjective.

The researchers desire to test their present findings in a more comprehensive way that obviates the mentioned limitations. The study advises that every block plants ten more trees – about a 4 percent increase in the street tree density – like in Toronto that they say is logically feasible.


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