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Environ Monit Assess. 2018 Oct 2;190(11):627. doi: 10.1007/s10661-018-7000-0.

A comparison of the effects of selected mono-ethnic urban environments on the autonomic functions of Muslim and Jewish women in Israel.

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Department of Geography and Human Environment, Porter School of Environmental Studies, Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv, Israel.
Department of Population Health, Faculty of Medicine in the Galilee, Bar Ilan University, Ramat Gan, Israel.
Bnei Zion Medical Center, (emeritus) the Rappaport Family Faculty of Medicine, The Technion, Israel Institute of Technology, Currently with the Child Development Reseach Ctr., Haifa University, Haifa, Israel.
Department of Geography and Human Environment, Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv, Israel.


Few previous studies evaluated ethnic differences in the effects of urban environments on the autonomic balance in intra-ethnic environments and the mediation effects of environmental exposures (air pollution, noise, and thermal load). In a field experimental study, we exposed 48 Muslim and 24 Jewish women to park, town center, and residential street in Israeli mono-ethnic small towns. Heart rate variability (HRV), noise, thermal load, and carbon monoxide (CO) were measured by portable devices while visiting the environments and were analyzed using mixed models. The results highlight the restorative effect of parks on both ethnic groups with stronger effect for Jewish women compared to Muslim women (β coefficient (95% confidence interval (CI)): - 6.45(- 6.70, - 6.20); - 4.99 (- 5.15, - 4.83), respectively). However, significant differences were recorded in Muslim and Jewish coping with the environments and the environmental exposures as measured by HRV.


Heart rate variability; Mono-ethnic environments; Park; Residential and town center environments

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