10/05/2022 Medicine
DOI: 10.1101/2022.05.09.22274764 SemanticScholar ID: 248663279

The Future is Green. Integrating Green and Blue Space Data from European Urban Atlas into UK Biobank.

Publication Summary

Abstract Background Green and blue spaces can promote good physical and mental health and prevent the development of long-term conditions. Evidence suggests that not all green spaces affect health equally, and that certain types and properties of green spaces are stronger predictors of health than others. However, research into the causal mechanisms is limited in large cohorts due to lack of objective and comparable data on green space type, accessibility, and usage. Methods We used data from Urban Atlas to compute measures of urban park accessibility, street trees availability, and total green and blue space availability for 300,000 UK Biobank participants. Exposure metrics were computed using circular buffers with radii of 100 m to 3000 m. Pearson correlation coefficients and other descriptive statistical parameters were used to test agreement between variables and explore the utility of indictors in capturing different types of green spaces. Results Strong positive correlations were observed between variables of the same indicator with different buffer sizes. The presence of park and proportion of street tree canopy variables were negatively correlated with amount of total green space variables. This signifies distinct differences in type of green spaces captured by these variables. Conclusions Overall, five distinct indicators of park accessibility, street trees availability, and total green and blue space availability have been integrated into a large sample of the UK Biobank. Our method is replicable to settings across Europe and facilitates evidence-based research on the roles of different green and blue spaces in health promotion and ill-health prevention. Key Messages Different types of green spaces and their position in the neighbourhood can promote and protect health by mitigating pollution and increasing physical activity and socialisation. We present the methods of constructing and linking data on urban green spaces, street trees and natural vegetation into a large health cohort, the UK Biobank. The ability to distinguish between types of green spaces and their intended use can help inform public health interventions, influence urban policy, and aid urban planning in building sustainable and healthy cities. Our methods are transferable and will allow others to explore the links between environment and health in UK Biobank and other health cohorts.

CAER Authors

Avatar Image for Simon Gilbody

Prof. Simon Gilbody

University of York - Director of the Mental Health and Addictions Research Group

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