More greenery could have prevented 34,000 deaths in the US over the last 20 years, study shows

Research about the health benefits of nature and greenery keeps coming. In this episode of NewsMD's "Health Fusion," Viv Williams checks out a new study that shows increasing the amount of urban greenspace could have prevented thousands of deaths.

Black lab puppy in raised bed garden
Viv's puppy, Ruby Mae, sits in an urban garden.
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ROCHESTER, Minn. — Could more greenspace in U.S. cities reduce mortality for people living there? Results of a study from Boston University shows the answer could be yes. Potentially.

“We’ve known that living in greener areas can have a positive impact on our physical and mental health," says study lead author Paige Brochu, a PhD student in the Department of Environmental Health. "But there is a lack of data on how changes in greenness distribution can affect death rates across the country. Our study quantifies the impact of greenness expansion in urban areas and shows how increasing green vegetation could potentially add to a person’s life expectancy. Policymakers and urban planners can use this information to support local climate action plans and ensure that those plans include greening initiatives.”

The researchers say adding greenery to all cities might not be possible because of climate, water sources, urbanization, and landscape. But they add that city planners can use their study findings to look at making changes over time.

The study is published in the journal Frontiers in Public Health.


Follow the  Health Fusion podcast on  Apple,   Spotify and  Google podcasts. For comments or other podcast episode ideas, email Viv Williams at Or on Twitter/Instagram/FB @vivwilliamstv.


Your body adjusts to hot weather slowly. So when heat waves hit, you need to know how to hydrate and stay cool to avoid heat-related illness. This is especially true for babies and older adults. In this episode of NewsMD's "Health Fusion," Viv Williams gets tips from an emergency medicine doctor about how to stay healthy in extreme heat.

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