Individuals who live in greener neighborhoods might be less likely to develop heart disease and stroke than those residing in areas with fewer parks or green spaces, according to a Journal of the American Heart Association study published Dec. 5.
The idea that green vegetation could have cardioprotective effects isn’t new, lead author Ray Yeager, PhD, and colleagues wrote. A 2008 analysis of U.K. residents found rates of cardiovascular mortality were lower in areas with more vegetation, and another study suggested ischemic stroke patients had better survival rates if they lived in greener areas.
“Extensive evidence supports the notion that cardiovascular disease risk is affected by many features of the built environment, such as residential characteristics and location, proximity to major roadways, availability of healthy food and neighborhood walkability,” Yeager and colleagues at the University of Louisville wrote. “Several recent studies have reported that individuals living in areas of high vegetation display fewer depressive symptoms but greater neighborhood satisfaction, better social interactions and higher social support.”