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A rapidly growing body of research has linked increased exposure to greenness (also referred to as green space or natural environments) to positive health outcomes (e.g. birth outcomes, respiratory illnesses, mental health and mortality).
Greenness as an "exposure" is not well defined or measured and may influence health through several hypothesized pathways: 1) through the reduction of harmful environmental exposures such as air and noise pollution; 2) by providing space for increased utilitarian and recreational physical activity; 3) by providing a setting for psychosocial influences, such as increased social contacts and community belonging; and 4) through directly reducing psychological stress and depression.
Our research focuses on enhances greenness exposure assessment, integrating greenness measures with other potential spatially correlated built environment factors and exploring associations with health outcomes.
Hystad, P, Davies, H, Frank L, Gehring U, Tamburic L, Brauer M. (2015) Residential Greenness and Birth Outcomes: Distinguishing Effects from Spatially Correlated Built Environment Factors. Environmental Health Perspectives. doi:10.1289/ehp.1308049
Cusack, L, Larkin, A, Carozza, S, Hystad, P. (2016) Associations between residential greenness and birth outcomes across Texas. Enviromental Research. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.envres.2016.10.003