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Environ Health Perspect. 2019 Feb;127(2):27002. doi: 10.1289/EHP2854.

Exposure to Residential Greenness as a Predictor of Cause-Specific Mortality and Stroke Incidence in the Rome Longitudinal Study.

Author information

1
Department of Epidemiology-Regional Health Service, ASL Roma 1, Rome, Italy.
2
Hygiene and Public Health Service, Local Health Authority, Merano, Italy.
3
Department of Public Health and Infectious Diseases, Sapienza University of Rome, Rome, Italy.
4
Department of Environmental Biology, Sapienza University of Rome, Rome, Italy.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Living in areas with higher levels of surrounding greenness and access to urban green areas have been associated with beneficial health outcomes. Some studies suggested a beneficial influence on mortality, but the evidence is still controversial.

OBJECTIVES:

We used longitudinal data from a large cohort to estimate associations of two measures of residential greenness exposure with cause-specific mortality and stroke incidence.

METHODS:

We studied a population-based cohort of 1,263,721 residents in Rome aged [Formula: see text], followed from 2001 to 2013. As greenness exposure, we utilized the leaf area index (LAI), which expresses the tree canopy as the leaf area per unit ground surface area, and the normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) within 300- and [Formula: see text] buffers around home addresses. We estimated the association between the two measures of residential greenness and the outcomes using Cox models, after controlling for relevant individual covariates and contextual characteristics, and explored potential mediation by air pollution [fine particulate matter with aerodynamic diameter [Formula: see text] [Formula: see text] and [Formula: see text]] and road traffic noise.

RESULTS:

We observed 198,704 deaths from nonaccidental causes, 81,269 from cardiovascular diseases [CVDs; 29,654 from ischemic heart disease (IHD)], 18,090 from cerebrovascular diseases, and 29,033 incident cases of stroke. Residential greenness, expressed as interquartile range (IQR) increase in LAI within [Formula: see text], was inversely associated with stroke incidence {hazard ratio (HR) 0.977 [95% confidence interval (CI): 0.961, 0.994]} and mortality for nonaccidental [HR 0.988 (95% CI: 0.981, 0.994)], cardiovascular [HR 0.984 (95% CI: 0.974, 0.994)] and cerebrovascular diseases [HR 0.964 (95% CI: 0.943, 0.985)]. Similar results were obtained using NDVI with 300- or [Formula: see text] buffers.

CONCLUSIONS:

Living in greener areas was associated with better health outcomes in our study, which could be partly due to reduced exposure to environmental hazards. Further research is required to understand the underlying mechanisms. https://doi.org/10.1289/EHP2854.

PMID:
30775931
DOI:
10.1289/EHP2854
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