(NaturalPath) According to a study conducted by the School of Population and Public Health at the University of British Columbia, greener neighborhoods produced bigger babies in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Using data from 64,000 births and satellite imagery, the researchers found that the babies from the greenest residential spaces, that had trees and grass within 100 meters, were up to 45 grams heavier. The babies also had a reduced likelihood of preterm birth and were less likely to be small for gestational age, according to the study.
This positive correlation was even present when the researchers accounted for other factors known to influence gestation and birth weight that include including air pollution, noise, income, access to parks, opportunities for physical activity and the walkability of the immediate neighborhood.
We know from other studies that birth outcomes are influenced by pollution and noise in a negative way, so we went looking for something (in the urban environment) that is healthy,” said one researcher.
The added 45 grams isn’t all that much, but over the entire sample size would change thousands of babies from a dangerously low to a healthier status. The difference between the greenest and least green neighborhoods saw a 20 percent reduction in severely premature births and 13 per cent fewer moderately pre-term births.
According to the researchers, the mechanism by which greenness translates into healthier babies is not exactly clear, but greener environments are known to facilitate social connectedness and reduce blood pressure, heart rate and stress-related hormones, according to the study, the third in a series of similar inquiries on the health impacts of urban spaces.
For more information, read the full study.
Razi Berry, Founder and Publisher of Naturopathic Doctor News & Review (ndnr.com) and NaturalPath (thenatpath.com), has spent the last decade as a natural medicine advocate and marketing whiz. She has galvanized and supported the naturopathic community, bringing a higher quality of healthcare to millions of North Americans through her publications. A self-proclaimed health-food junkie and mother of two; she loves all things nature, is obsessed with organic gardening, growing fruit trees (not easy in Phoenix), laughing until she snorts, and homeschooling. She is a little bit crunchy and yes, that is her real name.