Green space tied to small racial difference in coronavirus infections Healthiest Community Health News

Green space tied to small racial difference in coronavirus infections Healthiest Community Health News

A higher proportion of green space in an urban county is significantly associated with a smaller black-and-white racial disparity in coronavirus infection rates, according to recent study.

with researchers University of Illinois Urbana-Champaignhandjob University of Hong Kong And this City University of Hong Kong examined county-level data on coronavirus infections among black and white people in 135 of the most urban counties in the US from late January to July 10, 2020. Published by the International Journal of the Environment, the study involved 40.3% of the US population, and researchers found that the county-level infection rate for black people was nearly twice that for whites, 988 per 100,000 of the population versus 497 per 100,000.

“It’s a striking and profound difference,” says co-author William Sullivan, MD, professor of landscape architecture at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

The researchers also used satellite imagery to look at the proportion of green space in each urbanized county, and examined the relationship between different coronavirus infection rates among black and white people and that green. He found that there are four distinct types of green spaces – open spaces in developed areas (a category that includes parks, golf courses, large houses, and more); Forest; Shrub and scrub; And grasslands and grasslands – were “negatively” tied to disparity in black-and-white infection rates, meaning the higher the proportion of such places in a county, the smaller the racial gap in coronavirus case rates .

Among the counties with the largest proportion of green spaces, Sullivan says, “we saw a nearly 50% reduction” in black-white racial inequality. The researchers controlled for socioeconomic and demographic factors such as household size, household income and poverty rates, as well as for pre-existing chronic diseases such as diabetes and obesity.

Sullivan says the study points to the impact of green space on people’s health. His fellow researchers include bin jiang, a landscape architecture professor at the University of Hong Kong, and yi lu, Professor in the Department of Architecture and Civil Engineering at the City University of Hong Kong.

Sullivan says, “People recover from stressful experiences in such places much faster than they would in an otherwise designed but vegetatively barren space, and we know this from measuring hormones and physiological measures of stress.” ” “There are strong social ties between neighbors. People recover from the stress and strain of mental fatigue [around green spaces]”

Within the study, the researchers proposed a number of reasons for the association between the drop in infection inequality and more green spaces, including that more green spaces are more likely to pull people out, where the risk of virus transmission is lower. it happens. Specifically, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently stated Fully vaccinated people do not need to wear masks outside except when somewhat crowded setting.

The researchers also noted that places with a higher amount of green space tend to have more equitable access. And green spaces can promote physical activity that can enhance residents’ immune systems; Such areas can also improve people’s mental and social health.

“Visual or physical contact with urban green spaces can reduce mental fatigue, reduce mental stress, and at a personal level, increases self-discipline and lower impulsivity,” the study says. “Such exposure to green spaces can also reduce negative mood and verbal and behavioral aggression, leading to increased trust and cooperation. may increase.

“Taken together, these benefits of exposure to nature may promote immune system health and social cohesion that may provide protective benefits against viruses.”

Researchers say the study should be an incentive to look at green spaces not as facilities, but as necessities.

“Our study shows that green space is an important innovation of urban design or planning,” says Lu.

“A lot of times in America, we thought about park and street tree provisions,” says Sullivan. “And the research that our group has done shows … whether green infrastructure and green spaces, when in cities, are an essential part of a healthy human infrastructure.”

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