Having access to green spaces and nature makes you less likely to be depressed and obese, at least according to a new report.
One study of middle-aged Scottish men found that those who lived near natural green spaces had a 16% lower death rate than those who live in urban settings. Another found that pregnant women had lower blood pressure and gave birth to larger babies when they had access to green spaces.
“Nature is an under-recognized healer,” the researchers concluded.
11 researchers at the Institute for European Environmental Policy spent a year reviewing 200 different academic studies focusing on a wide range of topics, like allergies and overall health benefits.
The report is one of the most comprehensive probes into how health, wellbeing, and nature are intertwined.
“The evidence is strong and growing that people and communities can only thrive when they have access to nature,” said Robbie Blake, a campaigner at Friends of the Earth Europe, who funded the analysis.
“We all need nature in our lives, it gives us freedom and helps us live healthily; yet deprived communities are routinely cut off from nature in their surroundings and it is suffocating for their well-being.”
It goes to show the importance of planting trees, preserving green spaces in urban environments, and making sure we take time to enjoy nature.