The exploitation of resources and the changes in lifestyle in accordance with the 21st century has led to an increasing distance between man and nature. Urban areas are a key example of one such scenario where the probability of a human being coming in contact with a green patch of grass or a plant is getting slim every day.
That is why more research is being done in order to know the relation between green natural reserves and their possible impact on the health of the people living in the vicinity. A study carried out by Peter James, of Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, published in the September issue of Environmental Health Perspectives, devised a unique approach towards finding a correlation between human health and contact with nature.
Nurses’ Health Study, initiated in 1976, came in handy for Peter James and his fellow researchers. They started tracking the participants of that study to their home addresses. Once they got hold of their day to day routes and places they visited, then began the tedious work of getting to know how much exposure to nature did every participant encountered daily.
It was impossible to measure the density of the green patches of trees or grass near every participant so they used Normalized Difference Vegetation Index for that purpose. By using this index, it becomes easier to calculate the average density of green plants in an area since it uses satellite data to calculate the reflected light back to the outer atmosphere from that very patch.
In order to further refine their study they took into account other socioeconomic factors of the participants as well. The final results were astounding as women residing in densely green areas were 12% less prone to non-accidental death as compared to the women who were living with aminimum density of vegetation around.
Although these kind of studies are still in their infancy and there is a lot to be done in this regard for the scientists to know the exact extent of the effect that dense vegetation can have on the quality and length of life of a person. Further potential is there to extend the study towards the health relation with elders, children and the people who are sick.
All the studies aside, holidays are around the corner, with this new found knowledge in your grasp why not gift your lady a plant or even a backyard garden at this occasion.