Does Living near Greener Areas in Cities Reduce Cause-Specific Mortality? A Longitudinal Follow-up Study in the Brussels Capital Region

Lucia Rodriguez Loureiro , Vrije Universiteit Brussel
Lidia Casas, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven
Christophe Vanroelen, Vrije Universiteit Brussel
Sylvie Gadeyne, Vrije Universiteit Brussel

Background/Aim: Literature shows that living near urban greenness is associated with improved health. This study aimed to assess the relationship between residential greenness and cause-specific mortality in the Brussels Capital Region (BCR). Methods: We used data from the 2001 Belgian census linked to migration and mortality register data for the follow-up period 2001–2016. Individual demographic, socioeconomic and living environment characteristics were available from the census or linked through the residential address. Residential greenness was measured through the Normalised Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) and the percentage of total green (2006 Urban Atlas) within 300-m around the home address, and through the percentage of households reporting high quality of surrounding greenness at the area-level. Cox proportional hazards models were conducted to obtain the hazard ratios (HRs) of the association between residential greenness and cause-specific mortality. Models were adjusted by age, gender, education, house tenure, occupation, migrant background, PM2.5, daily average transport noise levels and percentage of unemployed at the area-level. Effect modification by age, gender, education, occupation and migrant background was assessed. Results: We studied 735,020 BCR residents aged 16-80 years at baseline. IQR increases of NDVI were associated with reduced mortality for cardiovascular (HR: 0.94, 95%CI: 0.92-0.97), cerebrovascular (HR: 0.93, 95%CI: 0.88-0.98) and respiratory diseases (HR: 0.92, 95%CI: 0.88-0.96), but not with ischemic heart diseases. Similar results were obtained using the indicator of quality, but not with percentage of total green. Effect modification analyses were inconclusive. Conclusions: Our findings suggest that living near greener areas could reduce specific causes of mortality.

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 Presented in Session P10. Health Consequences of Environmental and Climate Change