scorecardPeople who live near parks and green areas "age" slower, study finds
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People who live near parks and green areas "age" slower, study finds

People who live near parks and green areas "age" slower, study finds
SustainabilitySustainability1 min read
We have all day-dreamed of starting a new life at a lush green farm somewhere, unadulterated by the rush and smoke of cities. But did that know the move could actually add entire years to your life?

A study by Northwestern scientists found that people who stayed near green spaces like parks and plant-enriched areas tended to age slower. On an average, these people were biologically 2.5 years younger than those who lived near less greenery.

You've all met people who seem younger or older than their actual age. This is largely dependent on their epigenetic age, which can be vastly different from how old they are in Earth years.

While our chronological age is strictly based on our birthdate, our epigenetic age is more indicative of how our body's cells actually fare. This "biological age" can be accelerated due to factors such as diet, sleep, exercise, smoke, and even our environment.

All in all, the study showed just how important a conducive environment can be to our body's ageing process. While factors such as race, sex and socioeconomic status also had a definitive say in how "old" the participants were, those with long term (more than 20 years) exposure to green spaces aged much healthier.

The risk and onset of many health problems spike with age, including cardiovascular illnesses, cancer and cognitive function. The rise of rapid urbanisation inevitably leads to the loss of crucial green cover, with India's metros being a prime example of such tragic development. In order to develop sustainably and protect the next generation, we must invest in more such spaces.

"We believe our findings have significant implications for urban planning in terms of expanding green infrastructure to promote public health and reduce health disparities," remarks Kyeezu Kim, a study author.

The findings of this research have been published in Science Advances and can be accessed here.

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