Living in the lap of nature and greenery can make a person healthier, social, generous and calmer than living in a concrete jungle.
According to Frances Kuo, professor of the landscape and human health, people living in suburbs are trustworthier, willing to help and have a much higher standard of living, compared to their urban counterparts.
Prof. Kuo says that the health benefits come irrespective of other factors and that once we are deprived of green space, our health suffers dramatically.
She further said that access to nature and green environments yields better cognitive functioning, more self-discipline and impulse control and greater mental health.
The study reveals that greener environments also enhance recovery from surgeries, enable and support higher levels of physical activity, improve immune system functioning and help diabetics achieve healthier blood glucose levels.
In contrast, less access to nature is linked to aggravated attention deficit hyperactivity disorder symptoms, higher rates of anxiety disorders and higher rates of clinical depression.
Environments with less green space are associated with greater rates of childhood obesity, higher rates of many physician-diagnosed diseases, including cardiovascular diseases and higher rates of mortality in younger and older adults.
"We still find these benefits when they are measured objectively, when non-nature lovers are included in our studies, when income and other factors that could explain a nature-health link are taken into account," the Daily Mail quoted Prof. Kuo as saying.
"In less green environments, we find higher rates of aggression, violence, violent crime and property crime, even after controlling for income and other differences. We also find more evidence of loneliness and more individuals reporting inadequate social support," she added.
The study has been published in a research series for the National Recreation and Park Association.