The quality of the environment where you live, including how many trees grow in your neighborhood, plays a big role in your risk for metabolic syndrome.
More about green neighborhoods
Adults who live in green neighborhoods have a lower risk for developing diabetes, obesity, high blood sugar, and high blood pressure. What is a “green neighborhood” exactly? The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says that a green neighborhood is an area that is covered with grass, trees, or shrubs. For example, parks and community gardens are green spaces.
The Barcelona Institute for Global Health measured people’s blood pressure and waist size in addition to the amount of green space in their neighborhood. The results were clear. Long-term exposure to green spaces can play an important role in preventing metabolic syndrome. This includes obesity, high blood sugar, and high blood pressure. As we know, metabolic syndrome can lead to heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes. As a result, it is very important to look at ways to prevent it from developing in the first place.
Why is it that more green space can improve your health? Researchers think that it could be because of less air pollution and also more opportunity for physical activity if you live near a park or garden. This study found a direct link between a person’s health and the amount of tree coverage in their neighborhood. In other words, the more trees in your neighborhood, the lower your risk for metabolic syndrome.
For the Latino community, lack of access to parks and green spaces could be a major factor in why this population faces more chronic disease conditions (like obesity and diabetes) compared to non-Latinos. It is clear that people’s health is linked to the quality of environment where they live. As one of the researchers said, “We need greener cities if we want healthier cities.”
Photo credit Nerea Marti Sesarino at Unsplash.