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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

Brown: Residential Greenness Reduces Risk of Respiratory Mortality Associated with Air Pollution

Researchers at the Brown University School of Public Health have just published a study in environmental research to examine the interaction between residential greenness and air pollution on respiratory mortality amongst elderly people in Hong Kong. The study was led by Dr. Shengzhi Sun, a postdoctoral research associate at the Department of Epidemiology.

The study used 66,820 participants aged 65 years or older from the Chinese Elderly Health Service Cohort with enrollment from 1998 to 2001, and the participants were followed until 2011. Residential surrounding greenness was measured by using satellite-derived normalized difference vegetation index from Landsat based on participants’ addresses. Air pollution levels were taken from general monitoring stations across the territory from 1998-2011.

They found that residential greenness alleviated the association between exposure to air pollution and deaths from respiratory illness amongst seniors in Hong Kong, and it especially resulted in a reduced risk of death for pneumonia associated with various pollutants.

“This study highlights the importance of optimizing the allocation and designing green spaces as a public health intervention aimed at minimizing detrimental effects of air pollution.“ says Dr. Sun, lead author on the study.

The authors suggest further studies in diverse contexts and using different subgroups in populations to further explore this association
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