ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Using Music and Sports to Improve Kids' Asthma
Traffic, Dust Linked to Asthma in Kids
Overweight Moms More Likely to Have Asthmatic Kids
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Memory Loss Help from Brain Supplement Prevagen
Relaxation Tapes or Mozart Lower Blood Pressure
Naprapathy: A Hands-On Approach to Pain Management
ANIMAL CARE
Beware of Dog Bites
Safe Toys for Dogs
Rest Easy. When It Comes to Swine Flu, Your Pet Is Safe
BONES & JOINTS
Pain More a Cause of Arthritis Than a Symptom
Heart Failure Raises Risk of Fractures
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
CANCER
Well Water Might Raise Bladder Cancer Risk
More Cancer Tests Mean More False-Positive Results
Low Vitamin D Levels May Initiate Cancer Development
CAREGIVING
More Than 60,000 Patients Risked Hepatitis Infections
Child's Food Allergies Take Toll on Family Plans
Diabetes Epidemic Now Poses Challenges for Nursing Homes
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Mercury in Fish Linked to High Blood Pressure
Salt Boosts Blood Pressure in High-Risk Patients
Varicose Veins May Mask Larger Problem
COSMETIC
Contact Lenses Boost Kids' Self-Image
Health Tip: After Liposuction
New Genetic Links to Baldness Discovered
DENTAL, ORAL
Holistic Dentistry-My View
A Sweet Way to Shield Baby's Teeth
Gummy Bears Join Cavity Fight
DIABETES
Study Shows Turmeric May Prevent Type 2 Diabetes
Diabetes Linked to Cognitive Problems
'Standard' Glucose Test May Be Wrong One for Obese Children
DIET, NUTRITION
Folic Acid Might Offer Allergy Relief
Want to Stop Cancer? You Can, Experts Say
Coffee Drinking Lowers Women's Stroke Risk
DISABILITIES
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Vitamin D Deficit May Trigger MS Risk Gene
Former Inmates at Increased Risk for High Blood Pressure
Global Warming Biggest Health Threat of 21st Century, Experts Say
EYE CARE, VISION
FDA Goes After Unapproved Eye Washes, Skin Ointments
Contact Lens Cases Often Contaminated
Diabetic Eye Disease Rates Soaring
FITNESS
MRSA Infections Can Bug Fitness Buffs
Super Bowl Loss Can 'Kill' Some Fans
Exercise Extends Life of Kidney Patients
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Soothing Imagery May Help Rid Some Kids of Stomach Pain
Bowel Prep Harder on Women Than Men
HRT Use Raises Risk of Stomach Trouble
GENERAL HEALTH
Tune Up Your Health With Music
Retail Clinics Attracting Those Without Regular Doctors
Daylight Savings: Not a Bright Time for All
HEAD & NECK
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Magnet Therapy May Ease Hard-to-Treat Depression
Imaging Sheds Light on How Acupuncture Works
Subway Defibrillators Save Lives
HEARING
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Risk Factor for Stroke More Common Among Whites
Cocoa in Chocolate May Be Good for the Heart
Fondness for Fish Keeps Japanese Hearts Healthy
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
More Medicinal Uses for Pomegranate
Swine Flu Closes Three Schools in NYC
Chinese 'Devil Dung' Plant Could Be a Swine Flu Fighter
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Standard IQ Test May Underestimate People With Autism
Scary Toxins Make Halloween Face Paints Questionable
Scorpion Anti-Venom Speeds Children's Recovery
MEN'S HEALTH
Varicose Veins May Mask Larger Problem
Could Chinese Herb Be a Natural Viagra?
Drinking Green Tea May Slow Prostate Cancer
MENTAL HEALTH
Bullying Seems to Affect Kids Years Later
Heal Your Life® Tips for Living Well
Mind Exercise Might Help Stroke Patients
PAIN
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Pre-Pregnancy Weight Linked to Babies' Heart Problems
Exercise Boosts Bone Density in Breast-Feeding Moms
Sleeping Could Help Women Lose The Baby Fat
SENIORS
Tai Chi and Qigong Offer Many Health Benefits: Review
Vitamin D May Help Keep Aging at Bay
Common Antioxidant Might Slow Parkinson's
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Meditation May Help Put Primary Insomnia to Bed
Daylight Savings: Not a Bright Time for All
Better Sleep, Grades Seem to Go Up
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Sleeping Could Help Women Lose The Baby Fat
Prenatal Stress May Boost Baby's Asthma Risk
Steady Weight Gain Boosts Late-Life Breast Cancer Risk
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Green Areas Lower Health Inequities Between Rich, Poor

THURSDAY, Nov. 6 (HealthDay News) -- Health inequalities between rich and poor people are much lower in areas that have lots of green space, such as parks, forests and playing fields, a large British study finds.

Dr. Richard Mitchell, of the University of Glasgow, and his colleagues noted that previous studies have shown that the presence of green space has an independent beneficial effect on health and health-related behaviors. They wanted to examine whether access to green space might also affect income-related health disparities.

Mitchell and his team looked at the almost 41 million people in England below retirement age and obtained individual death records for 366,348 people to determine the association between exposure to green space, income, all-cause mortality, and cause-specific death (circulatory disease, lung cancer and suicide) from 2001 to 2005.

In areas with the most green space, the health gap between the richest and poorest people was about half as large as that in the least green areas -- an incident rate ratio (IRR) of 1.93 in the least green and 1.43 in the most green. IRR is a measure of how much higher the rate of death is among the poorest, when compared with that among the richest.

The difference in IRR for circulatory disease was even larger -- 2.19 in the least green areas and 1.54 in the most green. The amount of green space had no effect on deaths caused by lung cancer or suicide.

"The implications of this study are clear: Environments that promote good health might be crucial in the fight to reduce health inequalities," Mitchell and colleagues concluded.

The study was published in this week's special issue of The Lancet, which focuses on social determinants of health.

"This study offers valuable evidence that green space does more than pretty up a neighborhood; it appears to have real effects on health inequality, of a kind that politicians and health authorities should take seriously," Dr. Terry Hartig, of the Institute for Housing and Urban Research at Uppsala University in Sweden, wrote in an accompanying comment on the study.

Another British study in the same issue of The Lancet found that best-practice interventions could eliminate most socioeconomic disparities in coronary heart disease deaths. Best practice interventions include: reduction of systolic blood pressure by 10mm/Hg, of cholesterol by 2mmol/L, and of blood glucose by 1mmol/L in pre-diabetic people; halving the presence of non-insulin dependent diabetes; and quitting smoking.

The researchers looked at 17,186 male civil servants, aged 40 to 69, and found that the 15-year risk of death due to coronary heart disease per 100 men was 11 for men with low-grade employment and 7.5 for men with high-grade employment. The researchers calculated that best-practice interventions would reduce overall coronary heart disease deaths by 57 percent and the difference in deaths between socioeconomic groups by 69 percent.

"Our results suggest that current best-practice interventions to reduce classic coronary risk factors, if successfully implemented in both high and low socioeconomic groups, could eliminate most of the socioeconomic differences in coronary heart disease mortality," concluded Professor Mika Kivimaki, of University College London, and colleagues.

More information

The U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality has more about income and health.



-- Robert Preidt



SOURCE: The Lancet, news release, Nov. 7, 2008

Last Updated: Nov. 06, 2008

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