Living near to green space can help women reduce their weight and keep fit, according to a study by the Barcelona Institute for Global Health (ISGlobal).
Women who live less than 300 meters from green space may be at lower risk of excess weight or obesity, study said, after analysing data on 2,354 people from seven Spanish provinces (Asturias, Barcelona, Cantabria, Madrid, Murcia, Navarre and Valencia).
The study participants ranged in age from 20 to 85 years. It found a strong association between overweight or obesity in women and lack of access to urban green spaces such as parks and gardens. However, no such association was found in men.
“We do not have a clear understanding of the biological determinants behind the observed gender differences,” commented ISGlobal researcher Cristina O’Callaghan-Gordo, the lead author of the study. “There are probably social factors, such as differences in how men and women use green spaces, that explain this disparity.”
According to the World Health Organisation, in 2016 more than 1.9 billion adults were overweight. Of these, more than 650 million were obese–a preventable condition.
Natural outdoor environments, including green spaces within urban settings, promote health and well-being by increasing levels of physical activity, reducing exposure to noise and reducing psychological stress, which is an important driver of weight gain.