Trees are beautiful, and we all know their importance on the overall environment. What we question now is, does proximity to trees affect our health in general and are people who live near trees healthier than those who don’t? Maybe, let’s take a closer look.
Researchers report that people in urban areas with more trees are healthier individuals. This means having fewer cardio-metabolic conditions like heart disease and diabetes. Of course, green is better for the health, but do we know the direct correlation between humans and individual trees? How much can a tree on a city street affect man’s well-being?
Test subjects were chosen from Toronto because of Canada’s universal health care law. This means that access to doctors should not vary as much as in other areas making the health impact from trees an increased factor. Although the universal health care law does not remove all variable factors, it does offer a fairly level ground for studies
Researchers, combining data of 31,000 people and satellite imagery of a half million trees in Toronto CA, set out to discover whether the tree/health theory is true. The human data includes cardio-metabolic conditions, education, income paired with how each person views their own health.
In the Scientific Reports, these studies show that planting 10 or more trees on the city streets improved the rate of health and decreased cardio-metabolic conditions. If you were to compare this rate of health improvement to results from other factors, you would see similarities to say, $10,000 increase in income, or feeling 10 years younger! Now that’s a notable difference!
After controlling from income, education and age, co-author, Marc Berman told Washington Post,
“The study has found a huge impact on health from the planting of trees.”
Although studies prove that trees have an impact on health, they do not specify the exact reason for this effect. It could be that the quality of air is improved in areas with more trees. Trees may also reduce stress and promote physical activities. The data for the tests was also limited and individual’s perception of health was different from person to person.
With all this being said, Toronto is advised to plant 10 more trees per block. In this area, it is feasible. This would provide a 4% increase in tree/street density. Would this truly improve health? We think so. The only way to find out is to move forward and continue to improve our environment. After all, what’s wrong with a few more trees, it definitely couldn’t hurt us!