News from ISGlobal
Women who live less than 300 metres from green space may be at lower risk of excess weight or obesity. This is the main finding of a study led by the Barcelona Institute for Global Health (ISGlobal) and published in the International Journal of Hygiene and Environmental Health.
Using information from the MCC-Spain multi-case control study, the researchers analysed data on 2,354 people from seven Spanish provinces (Asturias, Barcelona, Cantabria, Madrid, Murcia, Navarre and Valencia). The study participants, who ranged in age from 20 to 85 years, answered survey questions about their residential history, lifestyle (physical activity, leisure time, etc.), weight and height. In addition, hip and waist circumference was measured and blood or saliva samples were collected. To determine whether or not participants were overweight or obese, the researchers used two markers that are commonly used in epidemiologic studies: body mass index and waist-hip ratio.
The study found a strong association between overweight or obesity in women and lack of access to urban green spaces such as parks and gardens. However, no such association was found in men. "We do not have a clear understanding of the biological determinants behind the observed gender differences", commented ISGlobal researcher Cristina O’Callaghan-Gordo, the lead author of the study. "There are probably social factors, such as differences in how men and women use green spaces, that explain this disparity".
Cristina O’Callaghan-Gordo, Ana Espinosa, Antonia Valentin, Cathryn Tonne et al. Green spaces, excess weight and obesity in Spain. International Journal of Hygiene and Environmental Health, December 2019. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijheh.2019.10.007