We all know that green spaces can contribute to our health in numerous ways. From providing abundant oxygen and clean air to helping improve our mood, reducing the risk of obesity and improved attention capacity in children, living in green neighbourhoods can really work wonders for us. But what's even more astounding is that living in such green neighbourhoods can actually delay the onset of menopause in women.
For the study, researchers analysed the data available on 1,955 women from nine countries (Spain, France, Germany, Belgium, United Kingdom, Sweden, Estonia, Iceland and Norway). The sruvey was conducted over a period of 20 years during which participants completed questionnaires on their health and lifestyle factors and underwent blood sampling. The researchers also kept factors like the availability of the greenery in their neighbourhoods in mind.
It was then found that women who lived in areas with less greenery became menopausal at least 1.4 years earlier than those who lived in areas with a lot of greenery. So the difference that made was that women who lived in green areas, on an average developed menopause by the age of 51.7 years as compared to 50.3 years for women living in areas with little green space.
"We know that stress increases the level of cortisol in the blood, and numerous studies have shown that exposure to green spaces reduces it. Low cortisol levels have been associated with increased levels of estradiol, an important female sex hormone. Perhaps women who live near green space have lower cortisol levels, which would allow them to maintain higher levels of estradiol, which may, in turn, delay the onset of menopause. Exposure to green space is also associated with a lower risk of certain mental health conditions, such as depression, which is also associated with younger age at menopause," said Kai Triebner, lead author of the study
"Menopause is a marker of health and can be associated with undesirable alterations in body physiology and mental health," commented Payam Dadvand, researcher. "If confirmed, our findings will add to the body of evidence on the health benefits of green space and help policymakers to implement interventions aimed at decelerating reproductive aging in our rapidly urbanizing world."