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