Science Inventory

Greenery along Neighborhood Roads is Linked to BMI and Active Transportation Across Four Diverse Communities

Citation:

Tsai, W., L. Yngve, K. Beyer, K. Malecki, AND L. Jackson. Greenery along Neighborhood Roads is Linked to BMI and Active Transportation Across Four Diverse Communities. A Community on Ecosystem Services (ACES), Crystal City, VA, December 03 - 06, 2018.

Impact/Purpose:

To present results showing a statistical relationship between urban greenery and physical fitness indicators at the individual level across multiple U.S. communities

Description:

Urban greenery benefits human health through a range of ecosystem services from hazard mitigation through venue provision for healthy behaviors. Greenery metrics are designed variously in different studies. Variations include the definition and resolution of greenery, and the spatial extent of analysis units. Greenery data may be aggregated by administrative units, or specified for individual residences using Euclidean or road-based buffers. When comparing studies about the effects of greenery on health outcomes, disparate methods dilute the weight of evidence for plausible effect pathways. For example, total greenery in a radial buffer or across an administrative unit may indicate larger-scale services such as ambient air-pollutant filtration. Tree cover along residential roads is perhaps a more precise indicator of shade and aesthetics. This presentation will introduce two studies finding greenery effects by different vegetation types and spatial analysis units on (1) body mass index (BMI) and (2) moderate-to-vigorous physical activity for recreation (MVPA-R). Individual BMI across greater Phoenix, AZ, and Portland, OR, was calculated using height and weight data from the motor vehicle depts. of participating states. Individuals’ MVPA-R reporting across greater Milwaukee and Green Bay, WI, was collected by the Survey of the Health of Wisconsin. Greenery metrics were designed by the U.S. EPA’s EnviroAtlas project to quantify the pedestrian environment (road based) along a gradient of suitability for promoting physical exercise for 950 cities and towns within 24 U.S. Census urban areas. Additional non-overlapping and overall greenery metrics (Euclidean) were generated to compare with the road-based greenery for BMI and MVPA-R, respectively. Both studies showed positive effects of road-based greenery on indicators of physical fitness in logistic regressions, after controlling for covariates. Trees, but not herbaceous cover, were consistently associated with lower odds of being overweight or obese in both Portland and Phoenix, across all residential network buffers from 500 to 2000m. Both tree cover and total greenery in network buffers were associated with greater odds of participating in MVPA-R. Tree cover along streets was more influential in smaller buffers (500m), while total greenery was more important in larger buffers (1000m). Significant associations were not found for radial buffers. Physically accessible greenery may better represent ecosystem services that promote physical activity than does overall greenery. Trees may be more influential than herbaceous cover, across communities in three U.S. climate zones. Findings suggest that it is important to carefully define greenery measures, including type and extent, while examining the associations between greenery and different health outcomes. This abstract has been reviewed and approved for submission by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Its contents do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the Agency.

Record Details:

Record Type: DOCUMENT (PRESENTATION/SLIDE)
Product Published Date: 12/05/2018
Record Last Revised: 02/11/2019
OMB Category: Other
Record ID: 343938

Organization:

U.S. ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY

OFFICE OF RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT

NATIONAL HEALTH AND ENVIRONMENTAL EFFECTS RESEARCH LABORATORY

ENVIRONMENTAL PUBLIC HEALTH DIVISION

EPIDEMIOLOGY BRANCH