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People who live near green spaces sick less and live longer

Press Release

Monday, November 4th, 2013

People who live near green spaces sick less and live longer

On 30th and 31st October, during the conference "Green Cities Healthy People. Healthy Planning Urban Spaces" national and international experts meet in CosmoCaixa Barcelona, called by B Debate and CREAL, ISGlobal alliance research centre, to establish links between research, public health practice and urban planning, as the only way to create healthy green areas for urban populations.

During the first sessions of the B·Debate, they talked about scientific studies that show that people who live closer to green areas live longer and have less risk of cardiovascular disease, obesity, mental health problems and prevent adverse effects of pregnancy, as it could be low birth weight. In the words of the scientific leader of the B·Debate, Dr. Mark Nieuwenhuijsen, "we believe that this is due to people who live near green areas practiced more physical activities and establishes more social contacts, with implications for mental and physical health that this entails."

Other research suggests that also reduces aggression and crime, improve sleep patterns and better recovery occurs in some diseases. According to Dr. Maria Neira, director of the Department of Public Health and Environment of the World Health Organization (WHO) and present at this conference, there are specific examples such as the city of Bogota, where traffic management benefits behaved unexpected as the reduction of violence in public spaces. By reducing traffic increased social relations, with consequent social benefits disadvantaged groups such as poor women.

According to Dr. Nieuwenhuijsen, green spaces can reduce stress and give you the opportunity to do more physical activity, but not enough, "they would have to implement other initiatives, for example should encourage the use of bicycles, going to walk or use public transport instead of private vehicles to reduce air pollution."

CREAL (Centre for Research in Environmental Epidemiology - is the project coordinator PHENOTYPE ( , funded by the 7th Framework Programme of the European Union , which aims to assess and identify measures to determine the ability of public green spaces to address health problems of the population of both urban and rural areas.

CREAL is part of the centres CERCA of the Generalitat of Catalonia.



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