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Nature Lowers Risk of Osteoporosis

woman, nature

Tassii from Getty Images Signature

In a study published in the Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases, scientists investigated the effects of green spaces on osteoporosis and bone mineral density by analyzing data held in the UK Biobank of almost 400,000 people with an average age of 56, just over half of whom were women. In addition to the participants’ bone mineral density, the researchers calculated annual average exposures to air pollutants, such as nitrogen oxide and particulate matter, based on residential postal codes. Those living closer to green spaces, natural environments and domestic gardens had greater bone mineral density and a five percent lower risk of developing osteoporosis. In addition to air pollution, the scientists noted that psychological stress and physical activity levels appeared to influence the impact of green spaces on osteoporosis risk.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the prevalence of low bone mass, a precursor of osteoporosis, in adults 50 and older is 51.5 percent in women and 33.5 percent in men. Osteoporosis weakens bones; increases the risk of fractures, chronic pain, reduced mobility and disability; and reduces quality of life. It affects nearly 20 percent of women and 4.4 percent of men.

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