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Children's Health Advance Publication

Environ Health Perspect; DOI:10.1289/ehp.1308038

Risks and Benefits of Green Spaces for Children: A Cross-Sectional Study of Associations with Sedentary Behavior, Obesity, Asthma, and Allergy

Payam Dadvand,1,2 Cristina M. Villanueva,1,2 Laia Font-Ribera,1,2,3 David Martinez,1,2 Xavier Basagaña,1,2 Jordina Belmonte,3,4 Martine Vrijheid,1,2 Regina Gražulevičienė,5 Manolis Kogevinas,1,2,3 and Mark J. Nieuwenhuijsen1,2
Author Affiliations close
1Centre for Research in Environmental Epidemiology (CREAL), Barcelona, Spain; 2CIBER Epidemiología y Salud Pública (CIBERESP), Barcelona, Spain; 3IMIM (Hospital del Mar Medical Research Institute), Barcelona, Spain; 4Institut de Ciència i Tecnologia Ambientals (ICTA), Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Cerdanyola del Vallès, Spain; 5Departament de Biologia Animal, Biologia Vegetal i Ecologia, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Cerdanyola del Vallès, Spain; 6Department of Environmental Sciences, Vytauto Didziojo Universitetas, Kaunas, Lithuania
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This EHP Advance Publication article has been peer-reviewed, revised, and accepted for publication. EHP Advance Publication articles are completely citable using the DOI number assigned to the article. This document will be replaced with the copyedited and formatted version as soon as it is available. Through the DOI number used in the citation, you will be able to access this document at each stage of the publication process.

Citation: Dadvand P, Villanueva CM, Font-Ribera L, Martinez D, Basagaña X, Belmonte J, Vrijheid M, Gražulevičienė R, Kogevinas M, Nieuwenhuijsen MJ. Risks and Benefits of Green Spaces for Children: A Cross-Sectional Study of Associations with Sedentary Behavior, Obesity, Asthma, and Allergy. Environ Health Perspect; http://dx.doi.org/10.1289/ehp.1308038.

Received: 19 December 2013
Accepted: 25 August 2014
Advance Publication: 26 August 2014

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Abstract

Background: Green spaces have been associated with both health benefits and risks in children; however, available evidence simultaneously investigating these conflicting influences, especially in association with different types of greenness, is scarce.

Objectives: To simultaneously evaluate health benefits and risks associated with different types of greenness in children, in terms of sedentary behavior (represented by excessive screen time), obesity, current asthma, and allergic rhinoconjunctivitis.

Methods: We conducted a cross-sectional study of a population-based sample of 3,178 schoolchildren (9-12 years old) in Sabadell, Spain (2006). Information on outcomes and covariates was obtained by questionnaire. We measured residential surrounding greenness as the average of satellite-derived Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) in buffers of 100 m, 250 m, 500 m, and 1000 m around each home address. Residential proximity to green spaces was defined as living within 300 m of a forest or a park, as separate variables. We utilized logistic regression models to estimate associations separately for each exposure-outcome pair, adjusted for relevant covariates.

Results: An inter-quartile range increase in residential surrounding greenness was associated with 11-19% lower relative prevalence of overweight/obesity and excessive screen time, but was not associated with current asthma and allergic rhinoconjunctivitis. Similarly, residential proximity to forests was associated with 39% and 25% lower relative prevalence of excessive screen time and overweight/obesity, respectively, but was not associated with current asthma. In contrast, living close to parks was associated with a 60% higher relative prevalence of current asthma, but had only weak negative associations with obesity/overweight or excessive screen time.

Conclusion: We observed two separable patterns of estimated health benefits and risks associated with different types of greenness.


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