Country Living Series

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

At this rate I'm gonna live forever

The Washington Post had an article today entitled Why living around nature could make you live longer.

It seems a new study came out of the journal Environmental Health Perspectives which found "people who live in 'greener' areas, with more vegetation around, have a lower risk of mortality."

The methodology for this study seems a bit odd, however:

The research relied on data from a vast long-term Harvard study funded by the National Institutes of Health called the Nurses’ Health Study, which has collected health information biennially on more than 100,000 female registered nurses in the U.S. since 1976. The new paper analyzed participant data from between 2000 and 2008, taking note of any deaths that occurred and their causes. At the same time, the researchers used satellite data to assess the amount of green vegetation surrounding each participant’s home during the study period.

(Did they ever talk to homesteaders? Organic farmers? Nursery workers? Anyone else who works outdoors in rural areas?)

The article continues:

This is all in line with the ways previous research has suggested greenness can affect health. Places with more vegetation are generally thought to be less polluted, and the presence of vegetation, itself, can help keep air cleaner. And green spaces like parks can help encourage people to get outside, exercise and engage with other people — all factors that can improve overall health. The effects on mental health may be somewhat less straightforward, but nonetheless important, as this study suggested.

What, you mean being surrounded by huge buildings and endless acres of concrete and air pollution and traffic and constant tension isn't good for you? Who'da thunk?

“We were really surprised to find that the mental health pathway explained about 30 percent of the relationship between greenness and mortality,” said Peter James, the study’s lead author and a research associate at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

He's right. Half the benefits of rural life is being able to decompress by stepping outside.

Still, much remains uncertain about the exact mechanisms by which exposure to nature can improve health, Frumkin noted. And scientists are still trying to figure out what type of contact with nature works best.

“Is a it a view out the window or do you need to get out and walk among the trees?” Frumkin said. “Does a bush do the trick or do you need a tree? Does it need to be in leaf during the summer, or does it work during the winter when it’s lost its leaves? There are lots of questions about the mechanisms and specifically about what form of nature contact offers benefit.”

Well, one thing's for certain. At this rate, I'm gonna live forever.


  1. Your family is so blessed with your lifestyle. I know it is hard work but so very fulfilling. Peace in Christ

  2. This sort of confusion between cause & effect and simple correlation drives me nuts. Just because two factors appear related does NOT mean one causes the other.

    This one in particular irritates me because it is neglecting the wealth/health factor. People - here, nurses - who have green space around their homes are yes, sometimes rural, but frankly, if you're in suburbia or especially urban areas, if you've got green space of significance, you've also got the money to afford a bit of land, or maybe a lot of land, or a rooftop terrace, or the fancy apartment building by the landscaped urban park.

    And if you can afford all that, you've probably also got money - or access to emergency funds somehow - for decent healthcare. Thus you will be less likely to die, than, say, an urban nurse who had to skimp on housing because she was raising two kids after her deadbeat ex skipped out on her.

    But I admit, I might be biased, knowing as I do a spoiled, pampered ex-nurse who is one of the study participants. She has her big yard and her landscape crew to go along with the fortune she's spent on healthcare and elective procedures and supplements in her vain attempt to live forever. Her money has bought her treatment that saved her from a certain death several years ago - her money, NOT her trees, yard, or landscaping.

  3. Many years ago we lived in the Queens section of New York City. Our street had trees planted on both sides of the street, but no significant other plants or grass. One day a friend who lived in a Manhattan high rise visited us, and commented on how good it was to get out into "the country" for a visit. It totally shocked us that anyone could think our very urban neighborhood was somehow "country". We have since moved out of NYC and now reside in an area that is at least closer to your sort of rural than anything in NYC.

  4. Silly researchers. The kind of contact with nature that works best is toes in the soil, eyes on the view, song birds and happy children's voices in the ears, home grown food in the belly, sturdy and reliable mate's arm around your shoulders, fresh air in your lungs, and a God's praise in your heart. What kind of research does it take to explain that?

  5. Typical government and academia. Their 'researchers' conveniently overlooked the fact that 58 million babies within 800 feet of particular government-funded 'health clinics' suffered a 100 percent rate of mortality.
    Montana Guy

  6. Common sense would tell you far more than this silly "research". This just smacks to me of inventing a reason for research dollars. Also, what anonymous at 10:09 said!

  7. It may help explain ,why liberalism, is a mental disorder......