Strengthen your bones by living in a leafy, green environment

It’s been found that living in a leafy area can boost the health of your bones because of increased exercise and reduced air pollution according to a study.

Focusing on cat caregivers

This is another article focusing more on the health of cat and dog caregivers than the cats and dogs themselves. This is important because healthy cat caregivers are more likely to be good cat caregivers. Poor health is a barrier to numerous activities and of course happiness. A happy cat caregiver is a better cat caregiver. 😊💕

Information in the UK biobank on more than 390,000 people shows us that the further you live away from green spaces the lower the bone density and the higher the risk of osteoporosis.

Living in a green environment can do your bones a world of good
Living in a green environment can do your bones a world of good. Image: MikeB under license.
Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles:- Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

The research comes from China. 56% of the people were women and the average age was 56. The study is published in the Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases.

The researchers are based at the Central South University in Changsha, Hunan and the Huazhong University of Science and Technology in Wuhan, Hubei. They worked out each person’s “genetic risk of osteoporosis”. Each person was monitored until their death or until there were diagnosed with osteoporosis or until the end of the study in March 2021.

The study lasted for 12 years and there were 9,307 new cases of osteoporosis in this period.

The people most likely to develop osteoporosis were:

  • Older
  • Female
  • Smokers
  • Less affluent

And interestingly the survey found a “consistent association between the amount of green space and new cases of osteoporosis”.

RELATED: Domestic cats and humans need to be active for their health

Greens spaces equates to lower risk

Specifically, if a person lives where there is a green space within 300 m of their home their risk of developing osteoporosis decreased by 5% compared to those who lived 500 m from a green space. And there was a commensurate 5% decrease in risk between green spaces being 500 m and 1000 m from their home.

The argument is that those living near green spaces are more likely to partake of regular exercise and importantly the lower levels of pollutants were a positive contributing factor. Poor air quality is linked to worse and bone health.

This is the first study which found these connections. Overall they concluded that:

“This association can be attributed primarily to the beneficial impact of green environments in mitigating air pollution.”

Sheffield, UK

My mind immediately turns to the city of Sheffield in the UK where the councillors decided to chop down hundreds perhaps thousands of trees lining the streets of residents. There was uproar justifiably. I don’t know what happened but in that simple act of vandalism they harmed the health of their residents. Another example of lousy city management by elected council members in the UK. There are many more in the UK where councils are going bankrupt in alarming numbers due to very poor financial management.

Does this benefit cats as well?

I probably shouldn’t speculate like this but I’m inclined to. The study actually points to something which is against the current cat caregiving trend namely to keep cats indoors full-time. The study implies that it is healthier for cats to be allowed outside if they live adjacent to a park or a nice green space. There are risks obviously with road traffic et cetera in the UK and in the USA there are risks because there are predators of cats in that spacious country but perhaps the benefits outweigh the risks? That’s a choice for the cat caregiver.

Source: The Times newspaper. Thanks.

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