Green Spaces May Lower Deaths from Heart Disease

Research, recently presented at the American Heart Association's Scientific Sessions 2020, finds that more green spaces such as trees, shrubs, and grasses, may improve air quality and reduce the number of deaths from heart disease.Green Spaces May Lower Deaths from Heart Disease

In the study, the scientists used the Normalized Difference Vegetative Index (NDVI), which measures the wavelength of visible and near-infrared sunlight reflected from the Earth's surface via NASA satellite imagery. A higher index means healthier vegetation.

The research also measured green spaces by county across the US and compared them to the national rates of disease deaths from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Interactive Atlas of Heart Disease. The analysis showed that for every 0.10 unit increase in green spaces, the number of deaths reduced by 13 deaths per 100,000 adults.

William Aitken, M.D., who collaborated on the research with the University of Miami public health scientists says: "We found that areas with better air quality have higher greenness and that having higher greenness measures, in turn, is related to having a lower rate of deaths from heart disease."

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