New Study: Living Near Trees Is Good For Your Body AND Wallet



By Amanda Froelich, True Activist

It’s no secret people adore trees. Why, just a couple of weeks ago, TrueActivist shared what happens when you give trees email address (hint: citizens send them thousands of love letters).

But a recently published study affirming the lesser-known benefits derived from living near trees is also something to get excited about. According to researchers from the University of Chicago and various Toronto organizations:

people who live in neighborhoods with a higher density of trees on their streets report significantly higher health perception and significantly less cardio-metabolic conditions (controlling for socio-economic and demographic factors). We find that having 10 more trees in a city block, on average, improves health perception in ways comparable to an increase in annual personal income of $10,000 and moving to a neighborhood with $10,000 higher median income or being 7 years younger.”

Researchers began by looking at Toronto, a location which has a lot of tree cover in its residential areas and highly accurate health data from the Province’s universal health plan. They found that “people who live on a tree-lined block are less likely to report conditions such as high blood pressure, obesity, heart disease or diabetes.”

Credit: Toronto

According to team leader of the study, Marc Bergman of the University of Chicago:

Researchers don’t know why, exactly, trees seem to be good for people’s health. “Is it that the trees are cleaning the air? Is it that the trees are encouraging people to go outside and exercise more? Or is it their aesthetic beauty? We need to understand that,” he said.

Likely everyone who appreciates this study will agree with city councillor Sarah Doucette’s sentiments: “Yes, I’m a tree hugger – and I love it.”

An interesting point is noted by the website TreeHugger, however, in bringing to attention several correlations discovered and documented several years ago. The staff writer Brian Merchant, in his titled piece “How to Spot Income Inequality from Space: Look for the Trees,” quoted Tim DeChant who shared that:

“For every 1 percent increase in per capita income, demand for forest cover increased by 1.76 percent. But when income dropped by the same amount, demand decreased by 1.26 percent. That’s a pretty tight correlation. The researchers reason that wealthier cities can afford more trees, both on private and public property. The well-to-do can afford larger lots, which in turn can support more trees. On the public side, cities with larger tax bases can afford to plant and maintain more trees.”

So, are people living near trees because they are already rich and healthy or are the trees contributing to their longevity and padded wallet?

At the moment, all one really needs to know is that trees are an indispensable resource worthy of the admiration so far gained. Share your thoughts in the comments section below.


Reprinted with permission from True Activist


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