When considering lifestyle factors that reduce the risk of heart disease, the public might list a change in diet, stopping smoking or taking more exercise. They are unlikely to mention how far they live from the nearest park. However, scientists are increasingly realising that our risk of heart attack, stroke and other health problems are associated with limited access to green spaces. Green spaces may satisfy some inherent need to be close to nature – providing mental health benefits – or simply offer better opportunities for regular exercise.
Regular use of green space in a city setting may be linked to reduced risk of heart disease, a new Lithuanian study suggests. The authors found that people who lived closer to green spaces suffered fewer symptoms of heart disease over a four-year period, and that regular park users were at lower risk based on factors such as weight, physical activity and diabetes.
For more information on this particular study please visit the European Commission website.