Where the grass is greener, pregnancies tend to be fullterm, and babies tend to have higher birth weights. The findings hold up even when results are adjusted for factors such as neighborhood income, exposure to air pollution, noise and neighborhood walkability, according to researchers at Oregon State University and the University of British Columbia.
“This was a surprise,” says Perry Hystad, an environmental epidemiologist in the College of Public Health and Human Sciences at Oregon State and lead author of the study. “We expected the association between greenness and birth outcomes to disappear once we accounted for other environmental exposures such as air pollution and noise. The research really suggests that greenness affects birth outcomes in other ways, such as psychologically or socially.”
In a study of more than 64,000 births, researchers found that very pre-term births were 20 percent lower and moderate pre-term births were 13 percent lower for infants whose mothers lived in greener neighborhoods.
See an OSU news release with more information about this study.