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Health Place. 2011 Jan;17(1):390-3. doi: 10.1016/j.healthplace.2010.11.004. Epub 2010 Nov 18.

Urban trees and the risk of poor birth outcomes.

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USDA Forest Service, PNW Research Station, Portland, OR 97205, USA.


This paper investigated whether greater tree-canopy cover is associated with reduced risk of poor birth outcomes in Portland, Oregon. Residential addresses were geocoded and linked to classified-aerial imagery to calculate tree-canopy cover in 50, 100, and 200 m buffers around each home in our sample (n=5696). Detailed data on maternal characteristics and additional neighborhood variables were obtained from birth certificates and tax records. We found that a 10% increase in tree-canopy cover within 50 m of a house reduced the number of small for gestational age births by 1.42 per 1000 births (95% CI-0.11-2.72). Results suggest that the natural environment may affect pregnancy outcomes and should be evaluated in future research.

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