ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Molecule in Skin May Link Eczema and Asthma
Asthmatics Who Quit Smoking May Reverse Lung Damage
Combating Myths About Seasonal Allergies
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Taking the Mystery Out of Hypnotherapy
Meditation May Boost Short-Term Visual Memory
Could Chinese Herb Be a Natural Viagra?
ANIMAL CARE
Separation Anxiety, Canine-Style
Safe Toys for Dogs
Rest Easy. When It Comes to Swine Flu, Your Pet Is Safe
BONES & JOINTS
Too Few Screened for Abdominal Aneurysm, Study Says
New Clues to How Fish Oils Help Arthritis Patients
Human Ancestors Put Best Foot Forward 1.5M Years Ago
CANCER
Mineral May Reduce High-Risk Bladder Disease
Quitting Smoking Doubles Survival in Early Stage Lung Cancer
Want to Stop Cancer? You Can, Experts Say
CAREGIVING
Timing May Matter in Organ Donation Decisions
Rapid Infant Weight Gain Linked to Childhood Obesity
ER Less Likely to Diagnose Stroke in Younger Folks
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Migraines in Pregnancy Boost Vascular Risks
Bye, Bye Back Fat?
Mercury in Fish Linked to High Blood Pressure
COSMETIC
New Genetic Links to Baldness Discovered
Science May Banish Bad Hair Days
Health Tip: After Liposuction
DENTAL, ORAL
Hormones May Be to Blame for Women's Cavity Rates
Most Insured Adults Worry About Health Care Costs: Poll
Mom's Vitamin D Levels Affect Baby's Dental Health
DIABETES
Red-Grape Compound May Improve Diabetes
Arthritis Hits More Than Half of Diabetics
Lifestyle Factors Tied to Older Adults' Diabetes Risk
DIET, NUTRITION
School Meals Need to Get Healthier
Is Your Refrigerator Getting Enough Attention For Your Raw Food Success?
TV Food Ads Promote Bad Diets
DISABILITIES
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
City Kids Find the Breathin' Is Easier Elsewhere
U.S. Diet Needs Heart-Felt Overhaul
Meat-Eating Dinosaurs Used Legs and Arms Like Birds
EYE CARE, VISION
Kids Who Spend More Time Outdoors Have Better Vision
Kids' Eye Injuries From Golf Clubs Rare But Severe
Cases of Age-Related Farsightedness to Soar
FITNESS
Yoga Can Ease Lower Back Pain
Weak Muscles May Cause 'Runner's Knee'
Good Warm-Ups Could Halve Sports Injuries
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
New Yogurt May Ease Stomach Ulcers
Olive Oil May Protect Against Bowel Disease
HRT Use Raises Risk of Stomach Trouble
GENERAL HEALTH
Vitamin D and Bone Health: Are You Getting Enough of This Important Vitamin?
Be Healthy, Spend Less
Any Old Cane Won't Do
HEAD & NECK
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
E-Mailing Your Way to Healthier Habits
Airport Full Body Scanners Pose No Health Threat: Experts
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
HEARING
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Kids With Vitamin D Deficiency Linked to Heart Trouble
Cherry-Enriched Diet Cut Heart Risks in Rats
An Apple a Day May Help Keep Heart Disease Away
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Poor Restroom Cleaning Causes Cruise-Ship Sickness
More Medicinal Uses for Pomegranate
Hand Washing 10 Times a Day May Help Keep Flu Away
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Gene Variation Found in Boys With Delinquent Peers
School Meals Need to Get Healthier
St. John's Wort Doesn't Work for ADHD
MEN'S HEALTH
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
Could Chinese Herb Be a Natural Viagra?
Countdown to Hair Loss
MENTAL HEALTH
Bullying Seems to Affect Kids Years Later
17 Ways to Create the Perfect Workday
The Unmedicated Mind
PAIN
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Heart Defects in Newborns Linked to Antidepressants
Pregnant Women Exposed To Certain Pollutants Could Lower Childs IQ
Breast-Feeding May Protect a Woman's Heart
SENIORS
Mediterranean Diet Plus Exercise Lowers Alzheimer's Risk
Many Cancer Survivors Don't Adopt Healthy Lifestyle
Older People at Greater Risk of Swine Flu Death
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Daylight Savings: Not a Bright Time for All
Moderate Aerobics May Ease Insomnia Symptoms
Sleeping Could Help Women Lose The Baby Fat
WOMEN'S HEALTH
A Brisk Pace May Keep Stroke at Bay
Varicose Veins May Mask Larger Problem
Acupuncture May Help Relieve Polycystic Ovary Syndrome
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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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