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Access to green space plays a role in the development of diabetes

Socioeconomic characteristics of the urban environments and neighbourhoods are associated with rates of obesity and type 2 diabetes. Access to green space within an individual’s residential area has been shown to be beneficial for health and well-being however, there is limited understanding of the relationship with type 2 diabetes. The aim of this study in the BMJ Open was to investigate the relationship between green space, body mass index (BMI) and type 2 diabetes.

The study examined this relationship in adults (25-74 years of age) in a large German city through the Dortmund Health Study. Researchers used geographical information systems to develop three indicators of green space: proportion of green space, available recreation area per person and distance to the next park or forest. Through regression analyses researchers demonstrated no association between green space and BMI. However, a lack of green space and further distance from parks or forests resulted in increased incidence of type 2 diabetes. The results suggest the availability of green space is an important part of the residential environment playing a role in the development of type 2 diabetes. It is essential to consider the built environment individuals live in when developing prevention plans and actions.

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