Yitshak-Sade, M., et al. (2019), Neighborhood Greenness Attenuates the Adverse Effect of PM2.5 on Cardiovascular Mortality in Neighborhoods of Lower Socioeconomic Status. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health.
CRESSH investigators published a study in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health titled “Neighborhood Greenness Attenuates the Adverse Effect of PM2.5 on Cardiovascular Mortality in neighborhoods of Lower Socioeconomic Status.” Air pollution is a well-known risk factor of cardiovascular disease; however, little is known about how land-use characteristics influence the relationship between air pollution and cardiovascular disease. Because of this, the present study aimed to assess if the association between air pollution and cardiovascular mortality is impacted by neighborhood greenness and walkability as well as by neighborhood sociodemographic characteristics, using resident-level mortality data from 2001-2011 from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. The authors did not find that walkability or greenness significantly impacted the relationship between air pollution and cardiovascular disease overall; however, when they took sociodemographic characteristics into account, they found that greenness decreased the risk of mortality due to cardiovascular disease in more dense areas with a lower percentage of white residents and a higher percentage of residents without a high school diploma. This result aligns with previous studies that have found the health benefits associated with exposure to green space are greater among urban populations of lower socioeconomic status. Possible explanations for this include that increased access to green spaces within vulnerable populations may increase time spent outside, which may contribute to improved physical and mental health. Additionally, access to green spaces may promote social interaction with neighbors and a greater sense of community. The results of this study suggest that greenness may be an important factor in mitigating the impacts of air pollution and reducing health inequities, particularly among vulnerable populations.