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Member Research and Reports

Member Research and Reports

UAlbany: Greenness Around Schools Associated with Lower Risk of Hypertension Among Children

Research from an international team — led by Dr. Guanghui Dong from Sun Yat-sen University and assisted by University at Albany School of Public Health’s Dr. Michael S. Bloom and Dr. Shao Lin— shows that greenness around schools may have a beneficial effect on children’s blood pressure.

While previous studies have shown that greenness — or proximity to green spaces — may be protective of high blood pressure, few studies have considered the associations between greenness around schools and blood pressure among children.

For this study, the research team recruited 9,354 children from 62 schools in northeastern China. The children each completed a physical examination and a blood pressure test while their parents submitted a questionnaire to capture demographic information and data on environmental exposures. Greenness around each child’s school was measured using satellite data.

Results indicated that greater greenness surrounding schools was consistently associated with lower systolic blood pressure and lower odds of hypertension in children. The beneficial effects of greenness were even stronger for overweight and obese children.

Since children spend a great amount of time in and around their schools, school greenness may play an important role in children’s health. With raised blood pressure as the leading risk factor for cardiovascular diseases, the findings of this study showcase that policymakers who plan more green space around schools are not only increasing their community’s aesthetics, but are creating a potential impact on the health of the community’s children.

In-depth results from this study can be found in Environmental Pollution.

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