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July 14th, 2018 by admin

UOW study to explore ‘healthy’ green spaces

INSIGHT: UOW’s Dr Xiaoqi Feng and Associate Professor Thomas Astell-Burt will lead the five-year ‘Greener Cities Healthier Lives’ research project.Green spaces and our health. What’s the connection, you might ask?
Nanjing Night Net

It’s one of manyquestionsset to be examined ina $3.2 million research project at the University of Wollongong (UOW), which includesanAustralian-first look atthe link between vegetation and achild’sacademic scores.

The five-year project, dubbed ‘Greener Cities Healthier Lives’, will also explore whether living near parks delivers better pregnancy health outcomes and howgreen areas helpadults’ mental and physical health.

UOW’sAssociate Professor Thomas Astell-Burt and Dr Xiaoqi Feng, two of the country’s leading green space and public health researchers, are behind the study.

Doctor Feng said the new project would bring together senior and junior researchers to explore several important questions for the first time in Australia.

“With prior evidence including our own suggesting that exposure to greenery helps us feel well and live longer, healthier lives, this suggests that green spaces do more than ‘pretty up’ our neighbourhoods,” she said.

“This project will address the key overarching research question now for industry and policy makers: what is the ideal amount of local green-space that helps to keep all of us healthy and out of hospital?

“We recognise that there may not be a one-size-fits-all solution and how people use green space is often dependent upon their age, which is why we will examine relevant outcomes and pathways that relate to pregnancy, childhood, adulthood and seniors.”

The study is being run out ofUOW’sFaculty of Social Sciences, in partnership withthe Population Wellbeing and Environment Research Lab (PowerLab).

The UOW PowerLab team will use existing and bespoke data as part of the project, including the study of NAPLAN results to provide the first insights in Australia on green-space and educational achievement.

Studies of mental health and chronic disease in relation to greenspace, along withhospital admissions and health service costs associated with greenspaces will also be used.

FourUOW faculties –Social Sciences;Science Medicine; Health,Engineering and Information Sciences; Business –are involved in the project’s research team, whichalso includes investigators from the Early Start Research Institute, the Illawarra Health and Medical Research Institute and the South Western Sydney Local Health District.

Theresearch is among the first round of projects to be funded through theHorticulture Innovation Australia Green Citiesfund, which focuses onlong-term research that drives a measurable increase in urban greenspace.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.