Green Space and Healthcare Costs (03-29-22)

Work by a research team lead by Van Den Eeden provides additional evidence that living near green spaces is good for our health.  The team reports that they “sought to determine if residential green cover was also associated with direct healthcare costs. We linked residential Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) satellite data for 5,189,303 [people] . . . to direct individual healthcare costs for 2003–2015. . . . we examined the association between direct healthcare costs and green cover within 250, 500, and 1000 meters (m) of an individual’s residence. . . . We observed a significant inverse association between higher levels of residential green cover and lower direct healthcare costs. The relative rate of total cost for the highest compared to the lowest decile of NDVI was 0.92 . . . for the 500 m buffer. . . . Individuals in the top decile of residential green cover had adjusted healthcare costs of $374.04 . . . per person per year less than individuals living in the bottom or least green decile.”

Stephen Van Den Eeden, Matthew Browning, Douglas Becker, Jun Shan, Stacey Alexeeff, G. Ray, Charles Quesenberry, and Ming Kuo.  2022. “Association Between Residential Green Cover and Direct Healthcare Costs in Northern California:  An Individual Level Analysis of 5 Million Persons.”  Environment International, vol. 163, 107174, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.envint.2022.107174