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Visiting the park frequently is associated with a lower need for medicines

Frequently visiting green spaces in the city such as parks and community gardens may be related to a reduced need for medication for depression, anxiety, insomnia, hypertension and asthma.
Research conducted in Finland suggests that frequently visit green spaces in the city as parks and community gardens may be related to a reduced need for anti-inflammatory medications. depression, the anxiety, the insomnia, hypertension and asthma. It has been seen that the results are independent of income level and level of education.
The researchers wanted to know if certain cases related to green and blue spaces (bodies of water) could be separately associated with the consumption of certain drugs. These cases were the number of residential green and blue spaces, the frequency with which the green spaces were visited and whether green and blue spaces could be seen from the residence itself.
The medicines that were selected were those prescribed to treat depression, anxiety, insomnia, hypertension and asthma , as they serve to treat health problems that, although common, can be serious.
The study has been published in Occupational & Environmental Medicine and it is type observational . Participants were randomly selected from the Helsinki Capital Region Environmental Health Survey in 2015-2016. They resided in Helsinki, Espoo and Vantaa.
The scientists carried out a survey in which participants were asked how often they spent time or played sports in green spaces between the months of May and September and whether they could see green and blue spaces from their home. They were also asked for information about their consumption of the drugs mentioned above, whether they had taken them in the last week, more than a year ago or never.
The study considered factors that could influence the results such as health habits, outdoor air and noise pollution, family income and educational level.
Finally they used the data from about 6,000 participants who were the ones who provided all the required information.
Regarding the consideration of green zone and blue zone, green zones were defined as forests, gardens, parks, castle parks, cemeteries, zoos and a group of herbaceous vegetation such as natural grasslands, moors and wetlands. The seas, lakes and rivers were considered blue zones.
What the scientists concluded was that neither the amount of residential green and blue spaces nor the views of them from the home were associated with greater or lesser use of prescription medications for mental health, asthma, hypertension or The insomnia. What did seem to exist an association for, however, was for the frequency of visiting green spaces .
Compared with less than one visit per week, visits 3-4 times per week were associated with 33% lower odds of taking mental health medications, 36% lower odds of taking blood pressure medications, and 26% lower odds of taking blood pressure medications. % less likely to use asthma medications.
The equivalent figures for visits at least 5 times a week were respectively 22%, 41% and 24% lower.
The associations were weakened when body mass index (BMI) was taken into account. This happened mainly with drugs to treat asthma, since the obesity It is a risk factor for this pathology.
The researchers also observed that participants who reported having a lower household income (less than €30,000 per year) experienced greater positive effects from visiting green spaces. However, in general, the associations found did not depend on family income or educational level.
As we have mentioned, this is an observational study so a cause-effect cannot be established.
"Growing scientific evidence supporting the health benefits of exposure to nature is likely to increase the supply of high-quality green spaces in urban environments and promote their active use. This could be a way to improve health and well-being in cities," the researchers write.
"Because prevention is better than cure"
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