If you are a pregnant
woman, try to stay in neighborhoods with lots of greenery. A new research has
showed, mothers who live in green neighbourhoods are more likely to
deliver at full term and their babies are born at higher weights compared to
mothers who live in urban areas that are not as green.
For the study, researchers examined data of more than 64,000
births. The study found that extreme pre-term births were 20 percent lower and
moderate pre-term births were 13 percent lower for infants whose mothers lived
in greener neighborhoods. Researchers also said that fewer infants from greener
neighborhoods were considered small for their gestational age.
"From a medical standpoint, those are small changes in birth weight,
but across a large population, those are substantial differences that would
have a significant impact on the health of infants in a community," said
Perry Hystad, an environmental epidemiologist in the College of Public
Health, Human Sciences at Oregon State
and lead author of the study.
The researchers were not able to find out the exact mechanism behind this
phenomenon and recommend further researches to be carried out on this topic.
However, one speculation is that green space provides more social opportunities
and enhances a person's sense of belonging in the community. Researchers also
speculate that more greenery has a psychological effect, which reduces stress
and depression, leading to better birth outcomes.
"We know a lot about the negative influences such as living closer to
major roads, but demonstrating that a design choice can have benefits is really
uplifting. With the high cost of healthcare, modifying urban design features
such as increasing green space may turn out to be extremely cost-effective
strategies to prevent disease, while at the same time also providing ecological
benefits," Hystad added.
The research was conducted by researchers from Oregon
and the University of British Columbia
. Findings of
the study were published recently in the Journal Environmental Health