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Green spaces, associated with more newborn weight

Proximity to green spaces close to home is associated with a greater weight of the newborn and lower probabilities that it will be born underweight. This is the conclusion of the study in which a team from the Global Health Institute of Barcelona (ISGlobal) participated based on a sample of more than 69,600 newborns.

The study was carried out in nine European countries, including Spain, and published in the magazine Environment Internationalevaluated the associations of maternal exposure to green and blue spaces (river, sea and lakes) during pregnancy and newborn weight in eleven birth cohorts.

The work was based on a sample of 69,683 newborns with an average birth weight of 3.42 kilograms and of which 6.6% were classified as small for gestational age, also called SEG.

newborn weight
EFE/Orlando Barría

Seven indicators

Seven indicators of residential exposure to natural environments have been calculated for each participant: green space at 100, 300 and 500 meters from the home – calculated using the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) -; distance to the nearest green space; accessibility to the green space; distance to nearest blue space; and accessibility to the blue space.

The results indicated that the proximity of green spaces to the home is associated with a greater weight at birth, while a greater distance to this type of natural environment was linked to a lower and higher probability of PEG.

Associations for accessibility to green spaces and exposure and accessibility to “blue spaces” were almost null.

Ensure healthy fetal growth

For the first author of the study, María Torresensuring healthy fetal growth “is essential to prevent many adverse health consequences, both early and later in life”.

In this sense, Torres gives as an example that babies with low birth weight or small for gestational age “could have a greater risk of growth problems, lower IQ and premature death in childhood, as well as obesity , cardiovascular diseases and diabetes in adulthood”.

Newborn weight

The researchers also assessed possible effect modification by socioeconomic level and European region: the results indicate stronger associations between residential green spaces and higher birth weight for those with lower educational levels, from from more disadvantaged areas and residents of northern Europe.

Seconds ISGGlobalthe conclusions of the study are “in agreement” with previous research from various parts of the world, namely that more and more works have shown a relationship between maternal exposure to green spaces and a greater weight at birth.

However, most have been conducted in a single country with a given climate and vegetation type, and effect estimates have differed from one region to another.

A study related to the birth weight of the newborn

On this, ISGlobal researcher i senior author of the study, Payam Dadvandassures that the capitalization of data from eleven birth cohorts from all over Europe has allowed them to evaluate “for the first time, this association in different countries and shed light on the role of the region in this matter”.

In this way, the authors maintain that the results support policies that encourage natural environments in cities, “starting with the most disadvantaged areas.

People from the Netherlands, United Kingdom, Denmark, France, Spain, Lithuania, Norway, Italy and Greece participated in the research.

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