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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

UMiami: Study Shows Association Between Neighborhood Greenness and Heart Disease

The Journal of the American Heart Association published a study that found that neighborhood greenness may be associated with reducing cardiovascular disease (CVD). The findings could lead to new preventative strategies to lower CVD risks, such as heart attacks, coronary heart disease, heart failures, and atrial fibrillation (A.Fib.).

Researchers of the study were Dr. Scott Brown, Dr. José Szapocznik, and Ms. Joanna Lombard from the University of Miami Department of Public Health Sciences.

“Three of the diagnoses showed strong relationships of higher greenness to lower odds of heart disease. For A. Fib, it was six percent reduction instead of 19 percent overall reduced odds of heart disease,” said Dr. Brown. “We believe that the reason for that is that there is a form of A.Fib, called familial atrial fibrillation, that has more of a genetic component, so this kind is related more so to genetics than to the environment.”

The sample used in the study focused on Medicare beneficiaries in Miami-Dade County who had lived in the same address in 2010 and 2011. In terms of location, researchers looked at block-level determinants of health.

“This is the first study in which looks at block-level greenness as a correlate or predictor of heart-disease, whereas prior work had looked at larger geographic areas, such as a quarter-mile buffer, or even bigger,” Dr. Brown said.

“The results of this study could inspire greater investment in greenery for neighborhoods. Neighborhoods could work with their municipal or county parks and public works departments to plant street trees and encourage the development of parks within walking distances of residences,” Ms. Lombard added.