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Are we all just missing some greenery?

A new study (James et al. 2016) has told us that people who spend more time in green areas have a reduced mortality risk.

Why might this be?

Perhaps it is that green areas encourage us to spend time outside, therefore increasing our exposure to sunlight which increases our Vitamin D status, associated with lower levels of inflammatory disease and depression. Or perhaps greener areas are linked to increased socialising, also associated with reduced depression. It may be just that the increased proximity to nature itself is the main factor - nature has been associated with a sense of improved overarching wellbeing, outside of other positive health measures.

It may also be that green spaces invite people to enjoy the outdoors through exercising - increased activity levels are also associated with improved health markers and reduced depression and obesity. Or perhaps it's that living in a greener environment is associated with less pollution (plants reduce levels of nitrogen dioxide in the air), which can reduce both depression and respiratory issues.

Whatever the reasoning, we recommend you buy some plants, take a walk outside or simply find some grass, lie down and enjoy the sunshine.

James P Hart JE Banay RF Laden F (2016) Exposure to greenness and mortality in a nationwide prospective cohort study of women. Environmental Health Perspectives 124:1344–1352

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